To Conserve, Nevada May Try to Buy Back Groundwater Rights

Marty Plaskett upgraded his farming equipment and spent $60,000 on new sprinklers to conserve water, even before the rural Nevada valley where he farms alfalfa began more strictly managing groundwater.

Now, Plaskett is weighing another adjustment: selling off part of his legal right to use water that lies under his land to the state.

Ground Zero: Rain Brings Little Relief to California’s Depleted Groundwater

The powerful storms that clobbered California for weeks in December and January dropped trillions of gallons of water, flooding many communities and farms. But throughout the state, the rains have done little to nourish the underground supplies that are critical sources of California’s drinking water.

Thousands of people in the San Joaquin Valley have seen their wells go dry after years of prolonged drought and overpumping of aquifers. And a two-week deluge — or even a wet winter — will not bring them relief.

Will Kings County Be the First Region Sent to State’s Groundwater “Cop”?

The prospect of being sent to California’s “groundwater cop” strikes dread in the hearts of most water managers.

But for John Vidovich, having the Tulare Lake subbasin come under the glare of the State Water Resources Control Board may be the only way to end an irrigation practice by the J.G. Boswell Company that he says is wasteful, abusive and contributing to the sinking of an entire town.

Santa Ynez Groundwater Basin Users Could Soon See New Water-Use Restrictions

The Santa Ynez River Valley Groundwater Basin runs from Lake Cachuma off Highway 154 out to the ocean near Lompoc. It’s used for urban water supply in Northern Santa Barbara County and in agriculture for things like wine grapes and vegetables.

Now, water users in the area may be required to comply with sustainable tactics to help manage the basin after years of consistent drought and overuse.

“Many parts of the basin are nearing historical lows,” said Santa Barbara County Water Agency Manager Matt Young.