Drinking WaterDrought

Valley wells already going dry as drought settles in

 •  by Jesse Vad, SJV Water reporting intern

Dry wells are starting to crop up throughout California’s San Joaquin Valley as the 2021 drought digs in. And as the parched state barrels toward summer, the risk of more wells going dry is increasing. For some, that possibility is already a scary reality. Misty Vasquez was at work in December, when her husband called…

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DroughtSGMAWater Banking

Delano’s “big dig”

 •  by Lois Henry

The state’s new groundwater law has prompted a lot of dirt movement in the Central Valley. The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act passed in 2014 mandates that overdrafted water basins get their aquifers in balance — don’t pump out more than goes back in — by 2040. In order to get there without massive farmland fallowing,…

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DroughtGroundwaterState System

Valley groundwater may get (small) slice of state’s $15 billion surplus

 •  by Lois Henry

The Governor’s proposal for how to spend California’s $15 billion surplus includes $60 million in direct grants to help replenish groundwater in the valley’s most depleted basins. The measure specifies the money is to be used in “critically over-drafted basins,” which lie mostly in the San Joaquin Valley. Water managers were pleasantly surprised, but not…

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Historic move: Fresno River rights to be decided

 •  by Lois Henry

If all you’ve ever seen of the Fresno River is through Madera as you drive over it on Highway 99, you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s just a weed-infested, shopping cart collector rather than a real river. But there’s a lot to this unobtrusive waterway, which just made history as the first river in 40…

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DroughtFederal SystemGroundwaterState System

State’s low water allocation prompts frustration, suspicion

 •  by Lois Henry

Is the State Water Project’s extremely low water allocation based on California’s fickle climate? Or politics? A growing chorus of frustrated water managers are wondering. After a dry January, the Department of Water Resources announced it would only be able to deliver 15 percent of contracted water amounts to farms and cities. That number hasn’t…

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