Posts Tagged: Groundwater
The cap of a well used to monitor groundwater samples in Gilroy. (Photo: Matthew Corley, via Shutterstock)
More than 60% of California’s groundwater wells are operating at below-normal levels, endangering much of the Golden State’s population that relies on the precious resource. Although relatively unknown to many Californians, who see water supply in terms of rivers, streams and reservoirs, groundwater is a hugely vital source that is largely invisible.
A beach in Carlsbad, San Diego County, which has the nation's largest desalination plant. (Photo: Sherry V Smith, via Shutterstock)
Here we are again: California is enduring another punishing drought, this one only a few years after the last one ended, which was the most severe drought in the state’s nearly 500 years of recorded history. Low winter snowpack combined with scorching summer temperatures and the driest winter months in 100 years have severely impacted the state’s water supply. Lake Oroville, an important reservoir in Butte County, had sunk to 49% of capacity by July 1
Don Edwards Wildlife Refuge headquarters, South San Francisco Bay, Alviso.(Photo: Sundry Photagraphy)
OPINION: The California Water Commission has the opportunity to create a new paradigm for water storage that delivers more cost-effective storage and an ability to ensure there will be enough water for communities, business and public purposes –keeping our rivers alive with enough water for fish, wildlife and recreation for people. That opportunity is to include groundwater storage in Proposition 1 allocations.
Localized flooding on the American River near Folsom Dam. (Photo: David Greitzer
Most Californians are – finally – out of the drought, but the record-setting rains have not washed away emergency conditions for all residents. Gov. Jerry Brown’s April 7 executive order lifted the drought state of emergency for 54 of California’s 58 counties.
Fran Pavley and former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger at a Capitol news conference in 2009. Photo: Rich Pedroncelli/AP
As a longtime former middle school teacher, Fran Pavley thought she would focus her energies on education when she got elected to the California Legislature 15 years ago.
But Robert Hertzberg, who was then Assembly speaker, gave the Southern California politician some advice. “He said we have several champions on education, we need you to focus on the environment,” Pavley said. She did.
Watering crops in California's Central Valley. (Photo: CRSHELARE, via Shutterstock)
OPINION: In the past 30 years, perhaps no legislative effort to bolster the state’s water policy has received as much attention as the management of groundwater. This effort lead to the expansion of water district powers, the creation of special act districts with unique powers, the authorization of voluntary plans and finally culminated in the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).
A California Department of Water Resources geologist measures and records a pumping water level in a production well. (Photo: John Chacon,/DWR, 2013, via California Water Blog)
Analysis: California’s single most urgent water policy priority is preserving our groundwater supply. In normal years, groundwater provides one-third of our state’s urban and agricultural water. In dry years, it provides up to nearly two-thirds.
Storm clouds over Mt. Baldy, east of Los Angeles. (Photo: Joel Shawn)
Even if this El Niño brings California an unusually wet winter, continuing to invest in science-based drought-related policy is essential to California’s continued success as a global innovation economy, a leader in environmental and public health, and being a darn nice place to live.
OPINION: Rather than focusing our attention on creating uber districts with special powers or buttressing the powers of cities and counties so they can manage groundwater, it would be better to focus our attention on some of the causes for our present failures and direct our efforts to giving local stakeholders the tools to complete the task.
Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in Yosemite, which prvides water for San Francisco. ((Photo: Nickolay Stanev)
After months of negotiations to rewrite the controversial $11.1 billion water bond on California’s November ballot, a compromise has been reached on a $10.5 billion plan that includes $3 billion for reservoirs and groundwater storage, and $1 billion for groundwater cleanup in the L.A. basin. The big question is whether Gov. Brown will approve the deal — and so far he’s not saying.