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Groundwater and Urban Growth in the San Joaquin Valley

Andrew Ayres, Ellen Hanak, Henry McCann, David Mitchell, Zachary Sugg, Erin Rugland | September 20th, 2021


The San Joaquin Valley is ground zero for the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). It has the largest groundwater deficit in California and faces some of the worst impacts from overdraft, including land subsidence and drying wells. SGMA will help the region address these issues—while also building its climate resilience. But this will require hard work, not only by farmers—the largest groundwater users—but also by the valley’s urban water utilities, which serve a growing population while relying mostly on groundwater. As the valley confronts limits on groundwater pumping, urban utilities, local land use authorities, other water users, and state agencies must all engage to ensure a smooth transition for the region’s residents.

Keywords

Central Valley, Groundwater Exchange, land use, planning and management, Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), Trading - See Water Markets, urban water conservation, water pricing, water supply

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Hydrological Region