Hopes are rising in the southern Central Valley that the farmland expected to be fallowed in coming years because of drought and groundwater restrictions won’t sit idle but will instead be consolidated to make room for new land uses including solar power generation. Efforts are underway locally to create a system for piecing together parcels that would allow investment at a scale large enough to support substantial photovoltaic solar arrays — or ranching or creation of natural habitat, whatever makes sense financially for landowners.
A Kern County groundwater bank proposal just at the starting blocks has been hit with 1,2,3-TCP contamination. Irvine Ranch Water District and Rosedale-Rio Bravo Water Storage District had just begun the environmental review process for their joint banking project this past April when TCP reared its head.
A local water district is developing a novel, market-based groundwater trading program that, if successful, could be expanded or copied to help Central Valley farmers cope with new state restrictions against over-pumping the region’s aquifers.