Document Details

Bulletin 118: California’s Groundwater (2003)

California Department of Water Resources (DWR) | October 1st, 2003

Despite California?s heavy reliance on groundwater, basic information for many of the groundwater basins is lacking. Particular essential data necessary to provide for both the protection and optimal use of this resource is not available. To this end, the California Legislature mandated in the Budget Act of 1999 that DWR prepare:  ” …the statewide update of the inventory of groundwater basins contained in Bulletin 118-80, which includes, but is not limited to, the following: the review and summary of boundaries and hydrographic features, hydrogeologic units, yield data, water budgets, well production characteristics, and water quality and active monitoring data; development of a water budget for each groundwater basin; development of a format and procedures for publication of water budgets on the Internet; development of the model groundwater management ordinance; and development of guidelines for evaluating local groundwater management plans.

This report is organized into the following topics:

  • Groundwater is one of California?s most important natural resources, and our reliance on it has continued to grow (Chapter 1).
  • Groundwater has a complex legal and institutional framework in California that has shaped the groundwater management system in place today (Chapter 2).
  • Groundwater management occurs primarily at the local water agency level, but may also be instituted at the local government level. At the request of the Legislature, DWR has developed some recommendations for a model groundwater management ordinance and components for inclusion in a groundwater management plan (Chapter 3).
  • Groundwater has had a flurry of activity in the Legislature and at the ballot box in recent years that will affect the way groundwater is managed in California (Chapter 4).
  • Groundwater programs with a variety of objectives exist in many State and federal agencies (Chapter 5).
  • Groundwater concepts and definitions should be made available to a wide audience (Chapter 6).
  • Groundwater basins with a wide range of characteristics and concerns exist in each of California?s 10 hydrologic regions (Chapter 7).


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