Sinking Lands, Damaged Infrastructure: Will Better Groundwater Management End Subsidence?

Sinking Lands, Damaged Infrastructure: Will Better Groundwater Management End Subsidence?

In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, work continues on managing groundwater for long-term sustainability, as required by California’s landmark Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). In January, water users in 21 critically overdrafted basins delivered their groundwater sustainability plans to the state Department of Water Resources. In this series , we examine the 36 plans submitted for 11 critically overdrafted basins in the San Joaquin Valley—California’s largest farming region, where … [more…]

Will Groundwater Sustainability Plans End the Problem of Dry Drinking Water Wells?

Will Groundwater Sustainability Plans End the Problem of Dry Drinking Water Wells?

In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, work continues on managing groundwater for long-term sustainability, as required by California’s landmark Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). In January, water users in 21 critically overdrafted basins delivered their groundwater sustainability plans to the state Department of Water Resources. In this series, we examine the 36 plans submitted for 11 critically overdrafted basins in the San Joaquin Valley—California’s largest farming region, where excess … [more…]

Harvard Reportedly Buying Up California’s Vineyards—and Their Water Rights

photo:vineyard in California, where Harvard is buying wineries and their water rights.

Harvard University’s endowment is reportedly buying up vineyards in California’s wine country, along with the water rights belonging to those properties.

Instead of making the land purchases in its own name, Harvard is using a wholly owned subsidiary—named Brodiaea after the scientific name for the cluster lily —to buy vineyards. Harvard created Brodiaea in 2012, and by 2015 the unit had already purchased 10,000 acres in Santa Barbara and San … [more…]

California Groundwater Law Means Big Changes Above Ground, Too

photo: housing construction in the Central Valley. California Groundwater Law Means Big Changes Above Ground, Too

The state’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act is likely to result in fallowing thousands of acres of farmland. Local governments are just waking up to the big opportunities, and risks, in how that land gets reused.

New housing construction in California’s San Joaquin Valley poses a threat to some of the best groundwater recharge lands.

California’s new groundwater management law is not a sports car. It moves more like a wagon … [more…]