High-Tech Mapping of Central Valley’s Underground Blazes Path to Drought Resilience

A new underground mapping technology that reveals the best spots for storing surplus water in California’s Central Valley is providing a big boost to the state’s most groundwater-dependent communities.

The maps provided by the California Department of Water Resources for the first time pinpoint paleo valleys and similar prime underground storage zones traditionally found with some guesswork by drilling exploratory wells and other more time-consuming manual methods.

California to Squander Record Rains, Snowpack in Deluge of Regulations, GOP Lawmakers Say

California’s Central Valley constitutes 1 percent of the agricultural land in the United States yet it harvests nearly a quarter of the nation’s farmed products.

The 50-mile wide, 450-mile-long breadbasket is irrigated by an intricate series of river impoundments and canals that are regulated by federal and state agencies.

Bill Would Provide Relief to Farmworkers in Drought-Stricken California

About a quarter of the nation’s food is produced in California’s Central Valley. And for decades, people have come to the region to find jobs in agriculture.

State senator Melissa Hurtado says her parents immigrated there from Mexico.

“They came to the Central Valley in search of the American dream. What they had heard is that the Central Valley was the place where you can make that happen,” she says. “And this region provided that to them.”

Farmers Worry Water-Rights Proposal Could Affect Food Supply

As drought continues to be a concern across California and Kern County, there is a new proposal in the state senate that could spend up to $1.5 billion to buy back the water rights that allow farmers to take as much water as they need from the state’s rivers and streams to grow their crops.

After decades of fighting farmers in court over how much water they can take out of California’s rivers and streams, some state lawmakers want to try something different: use taxpayer money to buy out farmers. It comes at a time when the state’s drought tracker says that almost 98 percent of California is currently experiencing yet another severe drought, which is resulting in low river levels.

Opinion: From Water to Energy, Calif. Policies Disproportionately Harm Minority Communities

As California continues to implement policies that are negatively impacting the agriculture and energy sectors, we must ask ourselves…who is looking out for California’s minority and disadvantaged communities?

The latest example is California’s Central Valley, particularly Kern County. Kern is a dynamic county that has a long history of welcoming people from other parts of the United States and immigrants from other countries.

Drought Limits Water Supply for Western US Agriculture

The US Bureau of Reclamation announced last month that irrigation districts accounting for farmers across California’s Central Valley would receive a zero-water allocation from the Central Valley Project as early-year dryness weighs on anticipated water supply. No water is allocated for irrigation north and south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin river delta, including off the Sacramento river, according to the 23 February announcement. Additional allocations will be announced in May.

River Flows All Across the Globe Are Dropping

Another slow-motion, man-made environmental disaster has been discovered, and it’s underneath your feet.

About 70% of the water pumped out of underground aquifers worldwide is used for agriculture while much of the remainder quenches the thirst of cities. As industrial development spreads at a speedy clip, the rate at which those critical reservoirs are emptied is far outpacing the rate at which they are naturally replenished.