Tuesday October 17, 2023


California’s extraordinarily wet year brought the state vast quantities of water that have soaked into the ground and given a substantial boost to the state’s groundwater supplies, but not nearly enough to reverse long-term losses from over-pumping in many areas, according to a new state report.

Officials with the Department of Water Resources examined water-level measurements in thousands of wells statewide and found that from spring 2022 to spring 2023, water levels rose significantly in 34% of wells, and declined in 9%. Others saw little change.

The rise in aquifer levels in many areas represents an improvement from the rapid and widespread declines that occurred during the last three years of extreme drought. Still, state officials cautioned that California’s groundwater remains depleted by decades of overuse.

“This year, groundwater levels began to recover from the prior drought years, but only partially,” officials wrote in the semiannual report. “Above average precipitation across the state alone can’t undo the damage from years of drought. Groundwater levels, while recovering, are still lower than the period after the 2012–2016 drought.”

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