NEWS

A San Joaquin Valley  groundwater agency may be “going rogue” on the issue of whether it’s responsible to protect all drinking water wells. A letter approved by the board of the Kings River East Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA), which covers eastern Fresno County and a chunk of northern Tulare County, says that it is “unreasonable”…
A state program aimed at retiring and repurposing farmland could get $60 million – more than doubling its current funding – under Gov. Newsom’s proposed budget.  The Multibenefit Land Repurposing Program was created with $50 million from the 2021 state budget. The program helps pay for farmland to be taken out of production and repurposed…
Local and state water leaders were practically upbeat two years ago at the last in-person Water Summit put on by the Water Association of Kern County. At least as upbeat as California water folks typically get. They advocated for new ideas, radical partnerships and solutions that could benefit both ag and environmental interests. That was…
Fractures have appeared within Kern County’s largest groundwater agency as pressure mounts for it to show the state how it plans to address the region’s massive groundwater deficit. Four water entities recently notified the Kern Groundwater Authority they were pulling out of the 16-member group to write their own groundwater sustainability plan. That will add…
by Jesse Vad, SJV Water
Multiple San Joaquin Valley groundwater projects got a significant shot of state funding this week to kickstart recharge, and other, projects. On Monday, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) announced $150 million was awarded to 20 agencies through its first round of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Grant Program. That includes almost $84 million for 11…
Advocates are sounding the alarm for what they think could be the collapse of the San Joaquin Valley’s agriculture workforce. As drought continues to hammer the state and groundwater pumping restrictions take effect, farmland will need to be retired en masse.  While there have been many conversations, including legislation, on how to support farmers during…
by Jesse Vad and Lois Henry, SJV Water
Gov. Newsom’s emergency drought order that singled out agricultural wells for extra scrutiny is continuing to cause confusion and angst in some parts of the San Joaquin Valley, while other areas are stutter-stepping forward. Selma raisin farmer Tony Panoo was happy to finally have his well drilled on Monday after several tense weeks when his…
Kern County agricultural water districts are giving major side-eye to one of their own over what’s known as “minimum threshold” groundwater levels The grumbling is aimed at the sprawling Semitropic Water Storage District in northwest Kern, where minimum thresholds are set, in some cases, at levels that would allow farmers to pump down the water…
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Maven’s Notebook is an excellent daily accounting of California water happenings statewide.