New Protections for California’s Aquifers Are Reshaping the State’s Central Valley

California’s agricultural empire is facing a shakeup, as a state law comes into effect that will limit many farmers’ access to water.

The seven-year-old law is supposed to stop the over-pumping from depleted aquifers, and some farmers — the largest users of that water — concede the limits are overdue.


California’s ‘Salad Bowl’ Recharges Depleted Aquifer

A newly opened water treatment plant in Monterey, Calif., will replenish a vital regional groundwater resource with recycled water at a rate of millions of gallons per day. On an annual basis, the Pure Water Monterey treatment plant will inject at least 3,500 acre feet of water, equivalent to more than a billion gallons, into the Seaside Basin.

For two decades, Monterey One Water, formerly the Monterey Regional Water Pollution Control Agency, has been recycling wastewater for irrigation in what’s called the “salad bowl of the world” where almost two-thirds of American leaf lettuce is grown. In addition to purifying wastewater, Pure Water is expanding to recycle agricultural drainage water, agricultural wash water and storm water runoff.