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Advancing Strategic Land Repurposing and Groundwater Sustainability in California

Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) | March 26, 2021
Summary

For decades, California has been on a steady trajectory toward water scarcity, which is now exacerbated by climate change. More frequent and intense droughts and increased demands have affected the reliability of surface water supplies. As a result, many have looked to groundwater to fill the gap. Groundwater overpumping has resulted in adverse impacts such as reduction in groundwater storage, subsidence, water quality degradation, sea water intrusion, wells going dry and depletion of interconnected surface waters throughout many areas in California’s San Joaquin Valley. These impacts led to the passage of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) by the state Legislature in 2014, which mandates sustainable use of groundwater by 2040 for the most critically overdrafted basins.

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For decades, California has been on a steady trajectory toward water scarcity, which is now exacerbated by climate change. More frequent and intense droughts and increased demands have affected the reliability of surface water supplies. As a result, many have looked to groundwater to fill the gap. Groundwater overpumping has resulted in adverse impacts such as reduction in groundwater storage, subsidence, water quality degradation, sea water intrusion, wells going dry and depletion of interconnected surface waters throughout many areas in California’s San Joaquin Valley. These impacts led to the passage of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) by the state Legislature in 2014, which mandates sustainable use of groundwater by 2040 for the most critically overdrafted basins.

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Keywords:

Groundwater Exchange, groundwater pumping impacts, Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA)