Tuesday December 12, 2023

Public Policy Institute of California

Although the Sacramento Valley has relatively abundant surface water supplies, groundwater is also an important resource for many of its communities and farms. In fact, one-third of the valley’s farmland depends entirely on groundwater, and more than half (60%) of all farmland relies at least in part on groundwater. The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) now requires local water users to steward this resource and prevent undesirable results of overdraft, or excess pumping.

In a previous blog post, we examined how groundwater sustainability plans (GSPs) in the region’s 16 basins assess overdraft. While the problem is far less acute than in the drier San Joaquin Valley to the south, many basins have issues to address. In this post, we explore how the plans envisage bringing their basins into balance. An accompanying dataset provides details for each basin.

How will the Sacramento Valley GSPs mitigate overdraft?

The math for bringing basins into long-term balance is relatively simple: it requires expanding water supplies, reducing water demands, or a combination of these two approaches. Plans must present quantitative estimates of the anticipated volume of water that would be added or saved (also known as “yield”) from these efforts.

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