California Farmers Depleted Groundwater In This County. Now A State Crackdown Could Rein Them In

For the first time in California history, state officials are poised to crack down on overpumping of groundwater in the agricultural heartland.

The State Water Resources Control Board on Tuesday will weigh whether to put Kings County groundwater agencies on probation for failing to rein in growers’ overdrafting of the underground water supply.

Opinion: California Budget Deal Delivers Major Setback to Delta Water Tunnel Project

It’s gone by several names: Peripheral Canal, Water Fix and Delta Conveyance.

Its design has changed several times, from a canal to twin tunnels and most recently a single tunnel.

However, its purpose has been unchanged for seven decades – bypassing the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta as water is moved from Northern California to San Joaquin Valley farms and Southern California homes.


Opinion: Broad-Based Buy-In is Key to Bay-Delta Water Plan

California is at a transformational moment when it comes to managing water. As aridification of the western United States intensifies, we have an opportunity to advance a better approach to flow management in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta and our rivers through a process of voluntary agreements to update the Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan.

The agreements, signed by parties from Red Bluff to San Diego, propose a new structure for managing water resources in the Delta and beyond in a way that is collaborative, innovative and foundational for adapting to climate realities while benefiting communities, farms, fish and wildlife.

State Lawmakers Reject Bill to Curb Farms’ Water Pumping

California lawmakers punted on a proposal to rein in agricultural groundwater pumping as drought continues to grip California and more than a thousand domestic wells have run dry.

A bill by Assemblymember Steve Bennett, a Democrat from Santa Barbara, would have added hurdles to obtain a permit to drill an agricultural well. Though the bill cleared the Senate on Monday, Bennett elected to not bring it up for a final vote in the Assembly before the Legislative session timed out Wednesday night. He said California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office told him the bill was no longer viable because of changes made.

Opinion: California Can’t Waver on Water Regulation

Over the past decade, California has gone from being the state with the least groundwater regulation to adopting a law that serves as an international model. How the state implements its landmark groundwater law during California’s worst drought on record could inform global climate change adaptation practices for generations.

The Golden State has one shot over the course of the next 20 years to bring its depleted aquifers into balance and achieve sustainability. Californians are counting on the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act to get the state there.

Opinion: Newsom’s Water Strategy Needs to Go a Step Further

Two weeks ago, Gov. Gavin Newsom released his water supply strategy, which is designed to address California’s warming climate and increasing drought intensity. Central to this strategy is expanding storage to capture water during wet periods and to help urban and agricultural users make it through dry times.

But why stop there? What about storing water for the environment?

Opinion: California Faces Existential Threat of a Megaflood

California had been a state for scarcely a decade and was home to fewer than 500,000 people when it was hammered in the winter of 1861-62 by the most powerful series of rainstorms in recorded history.

“This event, which was characterized by weeks-long sequences of winter storms, produced widespread catastrophic flooding across virtually all of California’s lowlands — transforming the interior Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys into a temporary but vast inland sea nearly 300 miles in length and inundating much of the now densely populated coastal plain in present-day Los Angeles and Orange counties.”

Four Things to Know About Colorado River Water in California

Southern California water districts are grappling with what the fallout could look like if supplies from a critical source — the rapidly drying Colorado River — are cut next year.

The US Bureau of Reclamation warned at a U.S. Senate hearing in mid-June that seven western states had 60 days to voluntarily reach a deal: Cut Colorado River water use by 2 to 4 million acre-feet in 2023 or face federally-mandated cuts instead. It’s a massive amount — at least seven times more than Nevada is entitled to in a year.

Opinion: Keep Momentum Going to Remove Klamath River Dams and Restore Salmon Runs

With the outbreak of COVID-19, many Americans are starting to realize how fragile our economy and social safety nets really are.

Many people face economic uncertainty and food shortages for the first time in their lives. For Indians, confronting economic uncertainty and food shortages has been part of life since Europeans arrived in our lands. We have known for a long time that in order to survive, we must prioritize the protection of our salmon, acorns, mushrooms, eels and the hundreds of other sources of food and fiber in our environment.

Opinion: Collaboration is the Answer to California’s Fishery and Water Supply Challenges

California has the opportunity to enter a new era in water management. Unprecedented efforts by leaders at the state and national level have led to the kind of cooperation that will provide valuable benefits to water users and the environment.

I know because that’s what we’ve been doing in the Sacramento Valley for many years. The kinds of success we’ve achieved can be replicated in other parts of the state. By working together, we can accomplish much more than can ever be achieved when competing interests are fighting.

California’s current water regulatory system is completely broken. Farms, towns and cities suffer continued cutbacks and threatened fish species continue to dwindle. The only recourse currently available seems to be an ongoing parade of lawsuits that further paralyze the system and help no one.