Groundwater sustainability in the San Joaquin Valley: Multiple benefits if agricultural lands are retired and restored strategically
From California Agriculture:
“Sustaining the remarkable scale of agriculture in the San Joaquin Valley has required large imports of surface water and an average annual groundwater overdraft of 2 million acre-feet (Hanak et al. 2017). This level of water demand is unsustainable and is now forcing changes that will have profound social and economic consequences for San Joaquin Valley farmers and communities. Land will have to come out of agricultural production in some areas. Yet, the emerging changes also provide an important opportunity to strike a new balance between a vibrant agricultural economy and maintenance of natural ecosystems that provide a host of public benefits — if the land is retired and restored strategically.
Once characterized by widespread artesian wells, the San Joaquin Valley now averages groundwater depths of over 150 feet below the surface, exceeding 250 feet in many areas. Decades of groundwater withdrawals have led to the declining reliability and quality of groundwater (Hanak et al. 2015; Harter et al. 2012), widespread land subsidence exceeding 25 feet in some areas (CADWR 2014; Farr et al. 2017) and degradation of groundwater-dependent ecosystems (The Nature Conservancy 2014). … “
Continue reading from California Agriculture here: Groundwater sustainability in the San Joaquin Valley: Multiple benefits if agricultural lands are retired and restored strategically
From the San Luis Obispo Tribune:
“Water management agencies in North County are making big decisions about the future of the Paso Robles Basin — including setting future targets for groundwater levels.
That matters because the agencies will eventually propose restrictions to cut back demand — or projects to increase supply to meet those targets in the aim of sustainability, said Carolyn Berg with San Luis Obispo County Public Works Department.
When the rate of pumping is greater than the rate of infiltration, the water table drops and shallower wells run dry. This bureaucratic process will determine what is an acceptable level for the water table. … “
Read more from the San Luis Obispo Tribune here: Worried about North County water? Here’s how to speak your mind on groundwater levels
From Water Deeply:
“Groundwater depletion is a big problem in parts of California. But it is not the only groundwater problem. The state also has many areas of polluted groundwater, and some places where groundwater overdraft has caused the land to subside, damaging roads, canals and other infrastructure. Near the coast, heavy groundwater pumping has caused contamination by pulling seawater underground from the ocean.
But if you wanted to obtain a permit from the state to manage these problems by recharging groundwater, you could be out of luck. … “
Read more from Water Deeply here: Is Groundwater Recharge a ‘Beneficial Use’? California Law Says No.
Do you have questions about groundwater? The Groundwater Exchange can help you find answers! You can search the Groundwater Exchange using the search bar in the upper right hand corner of the main page, or search the California Water Library for documents. If you can’t find an answer there, you can ask a question in the forum, or use the Ask an Expert feature, which will connect you with experts from the USGS and the Union of Concerned Scientists. Participate in the forum and share your knowledge, as well as ask questions. An active forum with knowledgeable participants would be an incredible resource! There’s a new question in the forum: Clark has a question on agricultural water reuse. Can you help? (Note: Registration is required to participate in the forum, but it’s easy and free. Click here to register.) The State Water Board will hold a public workshop on Groundwater-Surface Water interactions on December 3rd in Sacramento. The goal of the workshop is to provide water managers, including GSAs and others, with a menu of approaches to consider as they contemplate managing their own watersheds to prevent or manage depletions of interconnected surface water. To attend, you’ll need to RSVP before October 21st. Click here for more details. View this event and other groundwater events at the Groundwater Exchange calendar (also available on the main menu bar). Do you have website suggestions or feedback? Please let us know! Feel free to email me at Maven@groundwaterexchange.org. Our hope is that the Groundwater Exchange will be a valuable tool for implementation of SGMA, so if you have an idea on how this website can be improved or if you have resources to share, do let us know!
From the Chico Enterprise-Record:
“Comment is being taken on proposed boundary changes related to the managing of groundwater beneath Butte County.
The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act requires development of plans to manage groundwater beneath California to avoid undesirable results like land sinking or wells going dry. The plans are required for defined subbasins of the larger aquifers underground.
The Butte County Department of Water and Resource Conservation has applied to change the subbasin boundaries locally in response to requests by involved agencies, and that’s what the public is being invited to comment upon. …. “
Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here: Comment taken on groundwater management area boundaries
From the Department of Water Resources, Sustainable Groundwater Management Program:
The Department of Water Resources (DWR) invites you to participate in a survey on water quality as it relates to the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act and the Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) regulations. The survey will provide DWR’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Program (SGMP) with feedback on water quality concerns. The survey results will inform DWR’s continued assistance and guidance to Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) as they prepare and implement GSPs. The survey will be available until October 10, 2018, and can be accessed here .
If you have questions or comments, please email firstname.lastname@example.org .
NEW Frequently Asked Questions Updated
The 2018 SGMA Basin Prioritization Frequently Asked Questions have been updated.
REMINDER Basin Boundary Modifications Submission Period Ends September 28, 2018
The submission period for Basin Boundary Modifications ends at 11:59 p.m., this Friday, September 28, 2018. All information to support basin boundary modifications must be submitted on the Basin Boundary Modifications Request System .
For more information, contact Dane Mathis at email@example.com or (559) 230-3354.
REMINDER Basin Boundary Modifications Public Comment Period Ends Oct. 31
Public comment on Basin Boundary Modifications ends on Wednesday, October 31, 2018. Comments must be submitted using the SGMA Portal – Basin Boundary Modification Request System .
For questions or more information, contact Dane Mathis at firstname.lastname@example.org or (559) 230-3354.
REMINDER Submit Your GSP Initial Notification
GSAs are required to notify DWR, in writing, prior to initiating development of a GSP. GSAs must submit all applicable GSP initial notification information to DWR using the SGMA Portal – GSP Initial Notification System . Once an Initial Notification has been submitted, if changes need to be made, the SGMA Portal – GSP Initial Notification System allows edits to be made from the GSA’s login account, including the ability to withdraw a submittal.
Also, remember, “If the geographic area to be covered by the plan includes a public water system regulated by the Public Utilities Commission, the groundwater sustainability agency shall provide the written statement to the commission.” See Water Code § 10727.8.
For more information, please see Frequently Asked Questions on GSP Initial Notification Requirements or contact the Regional Coordinators in DWR’s four Regional Offices. For assistance with the system, please email email@example.com .
Connect with Your Basin Point-of-Contact
DWR has designated Basin Points-of-Contact to assist local agencies and GSAs as GSPs are developed and implemented and to assist with applications for Technical Support Services and Facilitation Support Services. To determine your basin point of contact, please see the following links that provide maps and contact information:
For regional inquiries, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org .
For general inquiries, please contact email@example.com .
From the Soledad Bee:
“Salinas Valley Basin Groundwater Sustainability Agency is looking at two options to impose fees on groundwater users.
The fee options come as the next phase in the state’s goal to manage groundwater resources. The ultimate goal of the agency is to create sustainable management practices considering the next 20 to 40 years of groundwater.
The agency began with three options for a fee schedule to fund its operational costs.
The fee revenue is projected to start funding costs in July 2019. … “
Read more from the Soledad Bee here: Groundwater agency looking at user fee options
Blog: What California’s history of groundwater depletion can teach us about successful collective action
From EDF’s Market Forces blog:
California’s landscape will transform in a changing climate. While extended drought and recent wildfires seasons have sparked conversations about acute impacts today, the promise of changes to come is no less worrying. Among the challenges for water management:
- The Sierra Nevada mountain range – an important source of water storage for the entire state – is expected to see a 60% reduction in total snowpack by the end of the century, along with earlier melting times.
- Average July temperatures in California’s Central Valley – an indispensable agricultural region – are expected to rise by up to 3.9 °F by 2050, reducing yields for many crops and stressing irrigation demand.
- Precipitation is expected to become less predictable throughout the state.
These changes will make water resources less reliable when they are needed most, rendering water storage an even more important feature of the state’s water system.
Continue reading at the Market Forces blog here: What California’s history of groundwater depletion can teach us about successful collective action
From the San Luis Obispo Tribune:
“A jury this week affirmed that public water suppliers in the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin have established rights to use underground water supplies consistent with historical practice even during times of shortage, San Luis Obispo County officials said in a news release.
The jury reached the verdict Sept. 24 after a month-long trial, finding that public water suppliers —including the county, the city of Paso Robles, Templeton Community Services District and San Miguel Community Services District — have established a “prescriptive right.” … “
Read more from the San Luis Obispo Tribune here: SLO County claims a victory in ongoing legal battle with landowners over water rights
“A Santa Clara County jury decided this week that public water suppliers in San Luis Obispo County have the right to use water from the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin to supply the communities they serve, county officials announced Wednesday. Those suppliers include the City of Paso Robles, County of San Luis Obispo, Templeton Community Services District, and San Miguel Community Services District.
North County property owners filed the “quiet title” lawsuit in 2013. At issue was whether the landowners’ right to use groundwater takes precedence over the public water suppliers and if, during times of shortage, the public suppliers would have to cease pumping from the groundwater basin. … “
Read more from KSBY here: Jury reaches verdict in trial over Paso Robles Groundwater Basin rights