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Ancient Aquifers are Dropping as Tucson’s Suburbs Pump Groundwater

Literature promoting the SaddleBrooke Ranch development west of Oracle touts feature after feature — high Sonoran Desert terrain with beautiful mountain views, “multimillion-dollar country club amenities,” an 18-hole championship golf course and more.

The development, now roughly 1,000 homes strong with 5,600 total planned, also has delivered something not promoted — a falling water table.

Farmland Owners Look to Solar As Groundwater Restrictions Loom

New solar energy installations may be headed to the valley portion of Kern County as investors, government officials and advocacy groups weigh options for reusing land that will have to be taken out of production as a result of state restrictions on groundwater pumping.

Photovoltaic solar arrays, for years an attractive investment for local farmland owners, would appear to align with California’s ambitious goal of meeting all its electricity needs with renewable energy.

Central Valley Water Board Plan to Reduce Nitrate Contamination in Groundwater Gets Approval

Help is on the way, both immediate and long-term, for the nitrate and salt contamination of groundwater basins and surface water in the Central Valley. Although the long-term resolution may be a multi-year process, stakeholders have developed a plan to address one of the region’s most challenging water quality problems.

After more than 13 years in development by stakeholders and the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board (CVRWQCB) a plan was approved earlier this week by the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) to address the buildup of salt and nitrates in Central Valley groundwater basins and surface water.

Supervisors Vote Wednesday on Withdrawing County as Groundwater Sustainability Agency for Borrego Valley Groundwater Basin

Borrego Springs, Calif. – Faced with a state mandate to reduce water use by 75 percent after years over over-pumping groundwater, major water users in Borrego Springs have submitted a stipulated agreement for reducing the desert community’s water use by an estimated 75 percent. On Wednesday, San Diego County Supervisors will vote on withdrawing as a groundwater sustainability agency for the Borrego Valley Groundwater Basin, with a goal toward transitioning into water management.

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.

Commentary: California Must Embrace Groundwater Management, And Expand It

We all walk on water. Not literally, but most Californians do walk over the water stored in the aquifers beneath our feet.

This unseen resource is groundwater, which provides 40% of our water supply in normal years, and up to 60% of our supply in times of drought.

With dry periods expected to increase in frequency and duration, groundwater is key to creating a more resilient water supply for drinking water, producing food, and sustaining our precious natural resources. Yet despite its importance, groundwater use in California has been largely unregulated.

‘Farming the Sun:’ As Water Goes Scarce, Can Solar Farms Prop Up The Valley?

On the Changala family farm in Tulare County, the past and future are separated by a dirt road and a barbed-wire fence.

On the south side sits a wheat field. On the north, a solar farm, built three years ago, sending electricity to thousands of Southern Californians. Alan Changala sees little difference between the two.

Oilfield Activities In Western Kern County Are Increasing Groundwater Salinity

In accordance with Senate Bill 4 authored by former Senator Frances J. “Fran” Pavley (D-27st District-Agoura Hills) in 2013, the State Water Resources Control Board, is now required to develop and implement a regional groundwater monitoring program. The State Water Board has partnered with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to monitor regional groundwater quality in oil production areas. Thus far a study by the USGS has revealed higher than normal salinity levels in groundwater near three oilfields in western Kern County.

California Farmers Fear ‘Catastrophic’ Water Restrictions. Can They Adapt to Survive?

It was 2015 and, as far as John Konda knew, farming still had a viable future in the San Joaquin Valley. So he expanded.

The Tulare County grower planted 75 acres of pistachios, adding to a farm he’s owned since 2003. Two years later, in order to augment his water supply, he drilled two new groundwater wells.

OPINION: Farms, The Environment, And The Future Of Water

In the middle of July, I was surprised to find myself trudging through a couple feet of snow while hiking south of Lake Tahoe. It was a striking contrast to the long walks I took on the dry lakebed of Folsom Reservoir near my home during the historic drought just five short years ago.

That crisis led our state leaders to approve the most sweeping change in water law in a century: the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. Gov. Jerry Brown signed it into law on Sept. 16, 2014.