SGMA in the News

How water managers can address surface water depletions – California’s “sixth deadly sin”

August 17, 2018

From Maurice Hall at EDF’s Growing Returns blog:

“The Cosumnes River is one of the last undammed rivers west of the Sierra Nevada. While not a large river, it flows year-round out of the Sierras, east of Elk Grove, south of Sacramento, and across the floor of the Central Valley before adding its modest flow to the Mokelumne River.

Every year, however, around the Fourth of July, the lower part of the Cosumnes River goes dry, even while the flow from the Sierras continues. The lower river stays dry until the first big rains come, sometimes as late as December or January, and resumes its high flow throughout the winter months.

How can a river be flowing and then disappear downstream? The explanation lies in the inevitable interaction between groundwater and surface water, which have been managed separately – until now. … “

Click here to read more from the Growing Returns blog.

Owens Valley Groundwater Authority comes of age

August 17, 2018

From Sierra Wave:

“The decision to go high or low was more than a political strategy popularized by Michele Obama. For the Owens Valley Groundwater Authority it represented a total commitment to groundwater sustainability under state regulations.

Here’s the deal: the Owens Valley groundwater basin was ranked as a medium priority, requiring the development of a groundwater agency and sustainability plan. Local use would have landed the basin in the low category but the exports by Los Angeles Department of Water and Power landed the valley in the medium range. … “

Click here to continue reading at Sierra Wave.

Category: News Article

Indian Wells Valley Water district weighs in on Groundwater Authority

August 17, 2018

From the Ridgecrest Independent:

“The Indian Wells Valley Water District board offered up its thoughts on the IWV Groundwater Authority ahead of the latter agency’s meeting today.

At the heart of those concerns was the continued request for a standing finance committee and questions on the Groundwater Authority’s budget as it prepares a groundwater sustainability plan for the IWV basin.

Peter Brown, the Water District’s representative on the board, said he submitted questions on the budget back in June. … “

Continue reading at the Ridgecrest Independent by clicking here.

Category: News Article

Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority meets Thursday

August 16, 2018

From the Ridgecrest Independent:

“The Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority board of directors may face a light agenda as it meets Thursday morning.

According to the agenda packet, the Groundwater Authority board will hear from Steve Johnson of Stetson Engineers, who acts as the agency’s water resources manager.

Johnson will also report on the status of the agency’s Proposition 1 grant that it was awarded from the state, reports on the status and schedule of the groundwater extraction fee adopted in July and the first draft of a GSP outline. … “

Read more from the Ridgecrest Independent by clicking here.

Category: News Article

The Economic Impacts of Agricultural Groundwater Markets

August 11, 2018

From the Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics, University of California:

Groundwater markets offer a cost-effective means of meeting management goals under the 2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. Using data from the Coachella Valley groundwater basin, we quantify the economic impacts of trade in one of California’s most important agricultural regions. Facilitating groundwater trade under a mandatory basin-wide “cap” on pumping will reduce disruptions to the local economy and keep land in production, relative to a scenario where trade is prohibited.
Category: Journal article

Specialty Crop Expansion in the Sacramento Valley- An Exploration of Groundwater Recharge Opportunities

August 11, 2018

From the Northern California Water Association Blog:

Sacramento Area Council of Government (SACOG)’s Sustainable Water Management Strategies for Specialty Crop Expansion in the Sacramento Valley examined scenarios to consider optimal locations for strategic flooding of cropland to maximize groundwater infiltration and improve water supply reliability for continued specialty crop production and related economic activities.

The work completed has identified attributes in our region’s open space land that facilitate infiltration and those that limit groundwater recharge potential. The project also examined ways these flooding scenarios may provide habitat benefits. The project included a contractual study component to complement RUCS staff work and build upon in-kind services from industry stakeholders, including specialty crop stakeholders, and water resource managers. The contractual work provided technical support and subject-area expertise in groundwater recharge science. This included the collection of environmental data to underpin scenario analysis and enhance the RUCS toolkit; including regional water balances and other factors that impact recharge (e.g. soil type permeability).

Click here to continue reading at the Northern California Water Association blog.

Category: Journal article

Santa Clarita Valley files lawsuit against Whittaker Corporation

August 10, 2018

From The Signal:

“SCV Water filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the Whittaker Corporation, seeking to cover the cost of removing two harmful contaminants — volatile organic compounds and perchlorate — from the Santa Clarita Valley groundwater basin.

The suit was filed in the U.S. Central District Court of California, comes ahead of just months ahead of when Whittaker claims it will be

“Despite the recent news accounts and public relations charm campaign to depict the Whittaker site cleanup as ‘nearly complete,’ the legacy of their historic contamination of the community’s groundwater basin remains to be fully addressed,” said Matt Stone, general manager of SCV Water, in a prepared statement Thursday. … “

Continue reading from The Signal by clicking here.

Category: News Article

FloodMAR: Using floodwaters for groundwater recharge

August 8, 2018

From Maven’s Notebook:

Flood-MAR is an integrated water resource management strategy that uses flood waters resulting from rainfall or snowmelt for managed aquifer recharge on agricultural lands and working landscapes. Flood-MAR can also be implemented at multiple scales, from individual landowners diverting flood water with existing infrastructure to using extensive detention/recharge areas and modernizing flood management infrastructure and operations.

With the implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act as well as the effects of climate change necessitating changes in how water is managed in California, Flood Managed Aquifer Recharge, or Flood-MAR, potentially presents a sustainable strategy that can simultaneously accommodate longer and deeper droughts along with more severe and frequent flooding.

In a July 2018 webinar, Kamyar Guivetchi, Manager of the Division of Statewide Integrated Water Management with the California Department of Water Resources (DWR), discussed the importance of the Flood MAR concept and what DWR and other state agencies are doing to advance the concept.  … “

Click here to read this article at Maven’s Notebook.

New groundwater rules hurting ag land prices

August 7, 2018

From the Business Journal:

“Groundwater sustainability agencies (GSAs) in Tulare, Fresno, Kings and Kern counties have until 2020 to develop plans for long-term viability of their regions’ supplies.  In other California counties where state officials deem the groundwater overdraft problem less critical, their GSAs will have until 2022 to finalize their plans.

Once those plans are done, the various groups will have 20 years to implement them, with a common goal of halting in their areas the overdraft of groundwater.

The law requiring these plans, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), already is having a big effect on prices for agricultural land, particularly in the areas from Madera County down to Kern county, where some of the most severe over drafting in the state commonly occurs. … “

Read more from The Business Journal by clicking here.

Category: News Article

Four Ways to Foster Cooperation over Groundwater

August 6, 2018

From Ellen Hanak and Jelena Jezdimirovic at the PPIC Blog:

“Last summer, some 250 local groundwater sustainability agencies (GSAs) were formed―the first step in meeting the requirements of California’s historic Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).  Now these agencies face the difficult task of developing and implementing plans to bring their groundwater basins into balance over the next 20 years.

A recent event by the Groundwater Resources Association of California explored groundwater governance, and laid out ways that locals will need to cooperate to manage groundwater for long-term sustainability. Here are four key takeaways. … “

Continue reading at the PPIC blog by clicking here.

Category: PPIC Blog