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Recharge Alone Won’t End California’s Groundwater Drought

After a winter of historic rains, California’s reservoirs are filled to the brim. Rivers are supercharged—and have flooded much of the Central Valley. With the water came a deluge of news voicing worries that California is letting all that water wash into the sea after years of drought—and heralding the idea of capturing it to recharge our long-parched groundwater aquifers. The political will is strong: Gov. Gavin Newsom has issued three separate executive orders aimed at amping up recharge efforts.

‘Double-Edged Sword’: Why the Badly Needed Rains in California Could Fuel Catastrophic Fires

Deep underneath the sodden soils and the berms of snow that now coat California, fuels for fire are waiting to sprout. Grasses and other quick-growing vegetation, spurred by the downpours that saturated the state at the start of the year, quickly turn to kindling as the weather warms.

“When that rain comes – and it came last month – that results in significant fuel load increases,” said Isaac Sanchez, a CalFire battalion chief.