Approaches for groundwater management in times of depletion and regulatory change
Robert M. Gailey | June 1st, 2018
New legislation and related regulations in California mandate groundwater management to avoid undesirable results from excessive groundwater pumping and other human activities. Required aspects of management planning that will occur in well over 100 alluvial groundwater sub-basins across the state include scientific foundation and public transparency. While the details of individual groundwater management approaches will be particular to conditions in each management area, there will be common elements based on similar aspects of many groundwater systems in the state.
The process of beginning to implement groundwater management for a large part of the state poses challenges. Use of scientific knowledge and methods of analysis developed in academia and industry will be helpful to the overall effort. This dissertation considers aspects of groundwater management that are expected to be common among many planning efforts.
- Inactive water supply wells acting as conduits for contaminant migration is considered through field examples and use of recently available databases regarding existing well constructions and water quality. Nonpoint source pollution effects on groundwater quality from conduit wells are investigated and selective regulatory action is explored as an option for addressing an issue that is too large for complete solution with available resources.
- Options for managed aquifer recharge are explored for a combined urban-agricultural area through use of a recently released land use database. A hydro-economic analysis is performed using linear programming to evaluate the efficacy of an on-farm recharge approach.
Future work may include development of additional insights within the context of the study areas presented as well as extensions that consider new geographic areas and additional related considerations.