The first SGMA groundwater market is trading: The importance of good design and the risks of getting it wrong
“A groundwater market, which caps total pumping within one or more basins, allocates portions of the total to individual users and allows users to buy and sell groundwater under the total cap, is a promising tool for basins implementing California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).
While the benefits of a cap-and-trade system for both groundwater users and regulators are potentially very large, so too are the risks.
An electronic bulletin board that introduces buyers and sellers, like craigslist.org , is not a market. Nor is a sophisticated financial application that matches participants and executes financial transactions. A water market is a complex interaction of individuals and institutions — the product of a large number of people, structures, operational mechanisms and rules. Without careful design, a water market can do harm.. ... ”
Read more from California Agriculture here: The first SGMA groundwater market is trading: The importance of good design and the risks of getting it wrong
Report provides guidance on repurposing California farmland to benefit water, landowners, communities and wildlife
“Over the coming decades, California’s San Joaquin Valley will transition to sustainable groundwater management under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), ensuring reliable groundwater supplies for generations to come. Sustainable groundwater management and a changing climate will inevitably affect how land is used on a sweeping scale. …
To help groundwater sustainability agencies (GSAs), local governments, rural communities and land use planners facing these challenges, Environmental Defense Fund worked with a broad group of stakeholders to develop a new guide, Advancing Strategic Land Repurposing and Groundwater Sustainability in California. … ”
Read more from the Environmental Defense Fund here: Report provides guidance on repurposing California farmland to benefit water, landowners, communities and wildlife
” … With support from the Water Foundation, a collaborative effort among California nonprofits and community groups has been leading statewide advocacy to ensure public agencies and elected officials implement the legislation fairly, effectively, and equitably.
This month, the group marked an important milestone. Over the past year, researchers and advocates at Ag Innovations, Audubon California, Clean Water Fund, Local Government Commission, The Nature Conservancy, and Union of Concerned Scientists, among others, have been pouring over thousands upon thousands of pages of local groundwater sustainability plans. While often hard to decipher and full of technical jargon, these plans reveal more about California’s groundwater health than we’ve ever seen publicly available before. … ”
Continue reading at the Water Foundation here: California Regions Submitted Their First Groundwater Sustainability Plans in 2020. How Did They Do?
From the Nature Conservancy:
Welcome to a tour of the Groundwater Resource Hub, a website full of resources where you will find guidance, tools and examples of how to manage groundwater for the environment.
Environmental users of groundwater can include, but are not limited to Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems (GDEs), Native Vegetation and Interconnected Surface Water (ISW), etc.
There are four stops on the tour:
Last year was a milestone year for SGMA, with the critically-overdrafted basins required to submit their first groundwater sustainability plans to DWR by January 31st of 2020. The Department is currently reviewing these groundwater sustainability plans and will release assessments of them this year. By statute, the Department has two years to complete an evaluation of the plans.
At the California Water Commission’s March meeting, the commissioners received an update on how the implementation of SGMA is going from staff from the DWR’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Office. Their presentation included the approach and timeline for releasing assessments of groundwater sustainability plans and the state’s planning technical and financial assistance supporting local SGMA implementation.
This report documents the computer software package, Basin Characterization Model, version 8 (BCMv8)—a monthly, gridded, regional water-balance model—and provides detailed operational instructions and example applications. After several years of many applications and uses of a previous version, CA-BCM, published in 2014, the BCMv8 was refined to improve the accuracy of the water-balance components, particularly the recharge estimate, which is the most difficult to accurately assess.
The improvement of the various water-balance components targeted the actual evapotranspiration component, which, in turn, reduced the uncertainty of the recharge estimate. The improvement of this component was enabled by the availability of a national, gridded actual-evapotranspiration product from the U.S. Geological Survey that was unique in its scope to combine remotely sensed spatial variability and ground-based long-term water-balance constraints.
This dataset provided the ability to assess monthly actual evapotranspiration for 62 vegetation types and to perform regional calibration in watersheds throughout California with the objective of closing the water balance using improved estimates for each component. The refinements, including vegetation-specific evapotranspiration, enabled the development of applications that could explore various aspects of landscape disturbance, such as wildfire, forest management, or urbanization.
The improvements to BCMv8 also provided the ability to assess long-term sustainability of water resources under a variety of management applications or future climate projections.
California appeals court limits groundwater pumping
“For the first time, a California Appellate Court has addressed the issue of limiting the right to pump groundwater by a landowner who has never pumped from a particular basin. While the rights of pumping and non-pumping landowners have generally been considered equal, the Fifth District Court of Appeal decided that, in certain situations, the two can be treated differently. The decision came in the ongoing adjudication of the Antelope Valley Groundwater Basin, the largest, most complex groundwater pumping rights case ever in California, and one of the largest in U.S. history. … ” Read more from Best Best & Krieger here: BB&K Secures Key Groundwater Pumping Rights Ruling
Losing Rivers: Researchers reveal the extent to which rivers across the country are losing flow to aquifers
” … The interplay between surface water and groundwater is often overlooked by those who use this vital resource due to the difficulty of studying it. Assistant professors Scott Jasechko and Debra Perrone, of UC Santa Barbara, and their colleagues leveraged their enormous database of groundwater measurements to investigate the interaction between these related resources. Their results, published in Nature, indicate that many more rivers across the United States may be leaking water into the ground than previously realized. … ” Read more from UC Santa Barbara here: Losing Rivers: Researchers reveal the extent to which rivers across the country are losing flow to aquifers
100,000 Central Valley residents impacted by contaminated drinking water will soon see interim solutions
“An estimated 100,000 Central Valley residents impacted by nitrate groundwater contamination will soon be supplied with safe drinking water on a temporary basis while more permanent solutions are developed. These solutions in the form of bottled water deliveries or bottle-filling kiosks are outlined in Early Action Plans submitted to the Central Valley Regional Water Control Board (Central Valley Water Board) for six geographic zones deemed to have the most serious groundwater contamination issues. The plans are part of the board’s strategy for addressing nitrate pollution in numerous communities that rely on groundwater as their primary source of drinking water. … ” Read more from the State Water Board here: 100,000 Central Valley residents impacted by contaminated drinking water will soon see interim solutions
Cosumnes subbasin groundwater status, plan discussed at meeting
“Seven agencies that have been working together to sustain the groundwater in the Cosumnes Subbasin, which includes the communities of Galt, Herald, Wilton and Rancho Murieta South, held a workshop March 24. The presentation was intended to help residents understand how groundwater will be used in the next two decades in the Cosumnes Subbasin. The group has until Jan. 31, 2022 to submit its plan to the state on how it intends to meet its target of replacing 20,000-acre feet per year (AFY) in underground basins called aquifers to sustain the groundwater. … ” Read more from the Galt Herald here: Cosumnes basin groundwater status, plan discussed at meeting
UCI Podcast: How drought and climate change threaten California’s water
“In this episode of the UCI Podcast, Nicola Ulibarri, an assistant professor of urban planning and public policy who is an expert on water resource management, discusses how droughts and floods have shaped California’s approach to water, what policy changes resulted from the record-breaking drought of 2011-16, and how better groundwater management might offer a solution for the future.” Listen to the podcast or read the transcript from UC Irvine here: UCI Podcast: How drought and climate change threaten California’s water
Rural, disadvantaged California community solves century-old water quality issue by tapping the sky
“For over 100 years, the people of Allensworth, California, have been looking for safe, reliable sources of drinking water. Now, after decades of investigating and implementing various technologies, the community is evaluating an innovation that makes quality drinking water from resources in the sky. … To tackle those challenges in Allensworth, the community is collaborating with SOURCE to outfit their local community center with two Hydropanels to sustainably generate drinking water. … ” Continue reading this press release at Business Wire here: Rural, disadvantaged California community solves century-old water quality issue by tapping the sky
Ag land values rely heavily on water availability
“California agricultural land values that are rising and falling the most are doing so under the perception of water availability – no surprise there. This is putting farmland in the Fresno Irrigation District (FID) in a positive light as that agency has done a good job over the years managing conjunctive use of irrigation water. The annual release of the Trends Report, a lengthy compilation of data collected by professional appraisers and farm managers in California, is starting to shed light on the role the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) is having in setting farmland values. With the call for groundwater sustainability plans by the State of California last year, buyers and sellers are starting to see the writing on the wall for some locations. ... ” Read more from the Western Farm Press here: Ag land values rely heavily on water availability
Opportunity for Santa Rosa Plain groundwater users to view and correct information
“Starting Monday, March 22, groundwater users who own property in the Santa Rosa Plain area will have an opportunity to review and update their water use information. The new Groundwater User Information Data Exchange (GUIDE) Program is being launched by the Santa Rosa Plain Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) to improve understanding of how groundwater is used, and the number and types of water wells in the Santa Rosa Plain basin. … ” Read more from Sonoma County here: Opportunity for Santa Rosa Plain groundwater users to view and correct information
Newman: Groundwater recharge project will bank water for future use
“Two local water agencies are moving forward with plans to fully develop a groundwater banking project near Newman. The groundwater recharge project has exceeded expectations in pilot studies, said Jarrett Martin, general manager of the Central California Irrigation District and Anthea Hansen, general manager of the Del Puerto Water District. They said plans are in the works to expand the 20-acre pilot project to an 80-acre recharge zone. … ” Read more from Westside Connect here: Newman: Groundwater recharge project will bank water for future use
The Department of Water Resources (DWR) today released the draft California’s Groundwater – Update 2020 (Bulletin-118), containing information on the condition of the State’s groundwater, which is especially important as California faces a critically dry water year. DWR encourages community members and water managers to review the publication and provide input.
This version of California’s Groundwater provides a comprehensive look at statewide groundwater activities, compiling technical information and data from 2003 to 2020. This bulletin recognizes the historic passage of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) in 2014 and builds a statewide framework to share new information and progress made by locals who are managing groundwater basins across the state. It also highlights emerging topics such as water markets and the impacts of climate change on groundwater and summarizes groundwater information for each of the State’s 10 hydrologic regions.
The publication contains a Highlights overview section in English and Spanish, and a detailed Statewide Report, which features current knowledge of groundwater resources including information on the location, characteristics, use, management status, and conditions of the state’s groundwater. The publication also presents findings and recommendations that support the future management and protection of groundwater.
This information can help communities and local water managers work together to find unique ways to manage their groundwater basins for long-term reliability and support actions being implemented as part of Governor Gavin Newsom’s 2020 California Water Resilience Portfolio.
California’s Groundwater is organized to share the growing body of groundwater data that is available now and will continue to be submitted by local agencies in the future as part of the implementation of SGMA.
DWR is developing a companion California’s Groundwater web-based dashboard leveraging the California Natural Resources Agency Open Data Platform to improve the access and timeliness of statewide groundwater information, making it easily available for water managers and the public to use.
California’s Groundwater Information
- Informational Video: English, Spanish
- Fact Sheet: English, Spanish
- FAQ: English, Spanish
- California’s Groundwater Online
- General Information Video: Groundwater: California’s Vital Resource
Public Webinar Meeting
DWR will present an overview of California’s Groundwater at a public webinar meeting on March 30, 2021, from noon to 1:30 p.m. RSVP here.
Public Comment Period
A 45-day public comment period is now open on the draft report and companion California’s Groundwater Online application. All comments will be reviewed and will provide valuable feedback to DWR to improve the analysis, reporting, and access to California’s groundwater information.
Public comments can be emailed to CalGW@water.ca.gov and will be accepted through April 26, 2021.
To review submitted public comments, email CalGW@water.ca.gov.
California’s Groundwater – Update 2020
- Using California’s Groundwater – Update 2020
- Highlights Section: English, Spanish
- Statewide Report: Chapters 1-6 (Large file: 41MB)
- Statewide Report: Chapter 7 Regional Summaries (Large file: 76MB)
The final version of California’s Groundwater is expected to be released in summer 2021.
For more information, visit the updated California’s Groundwater webpage.
From the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC):
“The San Joaquin Valley has begun to grapple with implementing the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). Figuring out the math of balancing water supply and demand in ways that cause the least economic harm to farmers and local economies is challenging, and difficult tradeoffs are inevitable. We talked with Emmy Cattani, a fifth-generation farmer from Kern County, about some options.
PPIC: Talk about ways that agriculture can reduce land fallowing in implementing SGMA.
EMMY CATTANI: More supply is critical. The biggest opportunity is to figure out how to capture water in big flood events, which are expected to become more common with climate change. … ”
Continue reading at the PPIC here: Finding a balance between supply and demand to get to groundwater sustainability
You are invited to take a tour of the Groundwater Resource Hub, a website full of resources where you will find guidance, tools and examples of how to manage groundwater for the environment.
Environmental users of groundwater can include, but are not limited to Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems (GDEs), Native Vegetation and Interconnected Surface Water (ISW), etc. This tour will last 4 weeks, hitting your email the next four Thursdays. Each week you can delve into a specific topic relevant to incorporating the environment into Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs).
The weekly schedule consists of:
March 18th: Consider the Environment when establishing Sustainable Management Criteria
March 25th: Incorporate the Environment into the Monitoring Network (to fill data gaps)
April 1st: Identify Projects and Management Actions that Maintain or Improve the environment
To signup to receive the remainder of the Groundwater Resources Hub Tour, email Leslie Jordan at ljordan@TNC.ORG .