Center pivot irrigation system. Lancaster, CA.

California’s farmers are pumping vast amounts of water from underground aquifers this year to make up for water they can’t get from rivers. It’s unsustainable, and the state is moving to stop it.July 23, 2021
The next time you pick up some California-grown carrots or melons in the grocery store, consider the curious, contested odyssey of the water that fed them. Chances are, farmers pumped that water from underground aquifers […]

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June 28, 2021 Written by Communications Intern Sage Bachman As California enters another severe drought, residents are once again being asked to use water more judiciously so as to make it last longer. While it is indeed crucial for all of us to reduce our water usage, is also critical to investigate how California’s limited sources […]

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A riparian woodland along the Santa Clara River in Southern California experienced almost 100 percent mortality during the state's historic drought that lasted from 2012 to 2016. Credit: John Stella

The highly engineered rivers that sustain California cities and farms upset streamside woodlands’ relationship with groundwater, a new study finds, jeopardizing their future in a changing climate.

California’s perennially drought-parched Central Valley bears little resemblance to the vibrant landscape of the pre-Gold Rush days, when wild rivers sustained lush woodlands and floodplains teeming with life.

Trees at the center of these biodiversity hotspots evolved in an arid landscape sculpted by finely tuned exchanges […]

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MavenBreaking NewsJuly 1, 2021 From the California Coastkeeper Alliance: Today, California Coastkeeper Alliance filed a lawsuit in Superior Court to compel the County of Sonoma to consider and mitigate impacts to public trust resources caused by groundwater extraction in the Russian River watershed. As the Russian River watershed faces a drought emergency, California Coastkeeper Alliance is […]

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Well on dry land

GLEN MARTINFOR THE PRESS DEMOCRATJune 24, 2021 The drought is intensifying efforts to conserve all of Sonoma County’s water resources, including a supply that has eluded oversight until recently: groundwater. But even as plans for groundwater monitoring and sustainable use proceed, tensions are building over its management. The authority to evaluate and regulate groundwater comes […]

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The very ground upon which Corcoran was built is steadily collapsing, a situation caused primarily by agriculture. Lois HenryMay 25, 2021 In California’s San Joaquin Valley, the farming town of Corcoran has a multimillion-dollar problem. It is almost impossible to see, yet so vast it takes NASA scientists using satellite technology to fully grasp. Corcoran […]

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Dry stream in San Bernadino National Forest

Emily DennyApr. 28, 2021 California water officials have accused Nestlé of draining more water out of southern California’s Strawberry Creek in the San Bernardino National Forest than permitted. The drafted cease-and-desist order, which was sent to the company on Friday, asked Nestlé to stop draining millions of gallons of water out of the forest every […]

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Wild Scenic Merced River photo

The Biden-Harris transition team identified COVID-19, economic recovery, racial equity and climate change as its top priorities. Rivers are the through-line linking all of them. The fact is, healthy rivers can no longer be separated into the “nice-to-have” column of environmental progress. Rivers and streams provide more than 60 percent of our drinking water—and a clear path toward public health, a strong economy, a more just society and greater […]

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Subsidence, ground sinking

When humans over-exploit underground water supplies, the ground collapses like a huge empty water bottle. It’s called subsidence, and it could affect 1.6 billion people by 2040. But scientists haven’t modeled global risks of subsidence—until now. To build their model, Sneed and her colleagues scoured the existing literature on land subsidence in 200 locations worldwide. They considered […]

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Pistachio Orchard

A legal dispute over water rights in California’s Mojave desert has growers for The Wonderful Co. on one side and a town reliant on a sprawling naval base on the other. As Brent Crane reports in FERN’s latest story, published with Bloomberg Green, the case offers a glimpse of the coming water wars in California, as the state’s all-powerful agriculture interests increasingly square off against thirsty communities over a dwindling supply of fresh water. […]

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Girls drinking from water bottle

Caitrin Chappelle | October 20, 2020 Over-pumping of groundwater has caused domestic wells to go dry in the San Joaquin Valley. Yet many of the first round of plans prepared to comply with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) do not yet propose ways to address this problem. We explored groundwater planning with three members of […]

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A new U.S. Supreme Court ruling puts groundwater science at the center of decisions about how to regulate water pollution. Today, in a closely watched case with extensive implications, the court ruled six to three that the federal Clean Water Act applies to pollution of underground water that flows into nearby lakes, streams, and bays, as long as […]

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The Nature Conservancy is pleased to announce the release of the Critical Species LookBook (the LookBook) which may be found on the Groundwater Resource Hub.  The LookBook is a compendium of 84 state and federally listed species likely to be affected by groundwater management and merit consideration by Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act […]

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Readers: This is a situation where there is an attempt to continue polluting groundwater and therefore the beaches and ocean where fresh water ends up. You can help by boycotting traveling there and opting to go somewhere else where environmental laws are respected and followed. Or you can send a letter out of outrage using […]

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Gokce SencanSeptember 10, 2019 This is part of a series on issues facing California’s rivers. Water managers across the state face new and more extreme challenges as the climate warms—from balancing the sometimes conflicting needs of urban, agricultural, and environmental water users to reducing risks from fires, floods, and droughts. We talked to Grant Davis, general […]

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August 6, 2019 Robert Shibatani Guest blogger By Robert Shibatani Whether you are a water utility manager, elected official, or homeowner, future water availability is a concern. There are several factors fostering that concern and one of them is climate change. In fact, these days, climate change is a rapidly growing global hot topic (no […]

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February 1, 2019 Legal Notes by Christian Mars The common law public trust doctrine in California has long played an important role in protecting navigable waters and waterfronts for the purposes of public use and enjoyment, such as commerce, navigation, fisheries, recreation and preservation. Cities periodically encounter the doctrine when: Administering tideland grants; Maintaining or operating […]

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“Cadiz hopes to pump 16.3 billion gallons of water from the desert each year, equivalent to 50,000 acre-feet. A required environmental assessment, paid for by the company, found that 32,000 acre-feet of water would naturally recharge the aquifer each year, an 18,000-acre-foot annual deficit that Cadiz acknowledges would last for the project’s 50-year life. The assessment […]

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Website provides a one-stop shop for information on the state’s landmark Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Sept. 18, 2018) Maven’s Notebook, in partnership with Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and Stanford’s Program on Water in the West (WitW), launched a new website today at www.groundwaterexchange.org to provide a central hub of science-based information related to […]

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Court Rejects Claim That SGMA “Displaces” Public Trust’s Application to California Groundwater The California Court of Appeal for the Third Appellate District has issued an important decision declaring that California’s powerful public trust doctrine applies to at least some of the state’s overtaxed groundwater resources.  The court’s opinion also rejects the argument that California’s Sustainable […]

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Court Rejects Claim That SGMA “Displaces” Public Trust’s Application to California Groundwater RICHARD FRANK, August 29, 2018 The California Court of Appeal for the Third Appellate District has issued an important decision declaring that California’s powerful public trust doctrine applies to at least some of the state’s overtaxed groundwater resources.  The court’s opinion also rejects […]

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PRESENTED BY MELANIE GOGOL-PROKURAT: The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Areas of Conservation Emphasis (ACE) project is a non-regulatory tool that brings together the best available map-based data in California to depict biodiversity, significant habitats, connectivity, climate change resilience, and other datasets for use in conservation planning. ACE compiles and analyzes information from […]

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Posted: January 11, 2018 To address future climate change effects on water resources, scientists at five UC campuses, and Lawrence Livermore and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories will study California’s water systems, from the headwaters in the Sierra Nevada, through rivers, reservoirs and groundwater in the Central Valley. The goal is to provide information to optimize water […]

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Six western states now allow recreational use of marijuana, creating a huge new legal market for cannabis farmers. But the implications for water supplies remain a big unknown. “It looks like a mess right now,” one expert says. Written by Matt Weiser Published on  Jan. 3, 2018 Read time Approx. 10 minutes States throughout the West have rushed to legalize […]

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California’s State Water Board recently passed new policies that will regulate water impacts from marijuana growing operations. Erin Ragazzi and Scott Couch of the Water Board discuss the challenges. Written by Ian Evans Published on Nov. 7, 2017 On October 17, the California State Water Resources Control Board adopted new environmental policies to regulate how marijuana growing […]

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To All, This is a short policy forum piece from Science worth reading to see the arguments fabricated by the Trump administration to overturn the 2015 Waters of the United States rule. This is the rule that addresses the reach of the Clean Water Act. How far does it extend into wetlands, if at all. […]

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