In this episode of Talk of the Bay, I interview two UCSC researchers, Andrew Fischer and Ruth Langridge. Their focus is on groundwater and how to recharge it to better manage this resource for city and farm.
Groundwater is a critical resource in California, providing approximately thirty percent of the state’s water supply and significantly more during dry years.
There is no permit system for groundwater withdrawals and all landowners overlying a basin have a correlative right to pump with limited restrictions. The problem is that the groundwater withdrawn, especially during California’s periodic droughts, generally exceeds recharge, contributing to declines in groundwater levels in many areas with associated negative impacts.
Local management agencies, special act districts, and court adjudications are the institutional arrangements to manage groundwater in California. In 2014, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), established new requirements for 127 basins in, or vulnerable to, overdraft to develop sustainable management programs with increased state oversight.