NEWS

Six subbasins covering nearly all of  the central and southern San Joaquin Valley do not have adequate plans to address falling groundwater levels, according to letters sent Thursday by the Department of Water Resources to groundwater agencies within those subbasins. Subbasins with plans not likely to pass muster include the Delta-Mendota, Kaweah, Kern County, Kings,…
Another set of comments critical of how San Joaquin Valley groundwater plans will impact drinking water wells dropped on Friday from the powerful State Water Resources Control Board. The comments focused on plans that cover the City of Fresno and many surrounding towns as well as Visalia and a number of smaller towns in Tulare…
by Danielle Bergstrom, Fresnoland, Lois Henry and Jesse Vad, SJV Water
Four groundwater plans in the Central Valley — including those for Westlands Water District, Chowchilla Water District and the Merced and Eastern San Joaquin subbasins — don’t show how they will protect water quality, keep drinking water wells from going dry or stop already sinking land from sinking further, according to the Department of Water…
As California’s Central Valley water managers nervously await the first official Department of Water Resources responses to plans for how they expect to fix massive groundwater over pumping, some were dismayed to “stumble” on comments from a different, and very powerful, state water agency. The State Water Resources Control Board submitted  highly critical comments on…
by Jesse Vad, SJV Water reporting intern
New satellite technology could be a critical piece to the future of water trading in the San Joaquin Valley, according to those working on the tech. OpenET, an online platform that uses satellite imagery to estimate how much water is used by different crops, launched publicly on October 21. The platform is already being tested…
by Jesse Vad, SJV Water reporting intern
Valley farmers have relied on groundwater for generations. That is changing under the state’s new Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, SGMA, that mandates aquifers be brought into balance by 2040. That means more water can’t be pumped out than is recharged into the aquifer. Pumping restrictions could mean significant portions of the valley’s farmland will have…
by Jesse Vad, SJV Water reporting intern
A bill that would create a program to help growers find other uses for farmland idled because of groundwater pumping restrictions won approval by a Senate committee, bringing it closer to the Governor’s desk. AB 252, known as the multibenefit land repurposing incentive program, passed the Senate Appropriations Committee August 26. The bill, authored by…
by Jesse Vad, SJV Water reporting intern
Lawmakers may be close to passing a bill aimed at helping farmers cope with water restrictions. Assembly Bill 252, the Multibenefit Land Repurposing Incentive Program, would set up a program under the California Department of Conservation to use grant money for repurposing former ag land in critically over drafted groundwater basins. The bill was authored…
by Lois Henry
Whether the Kern River truly has spare water and, if so, how much, has been left up in the air for more than a decade. Now, 11 years after the State Water Resources Control Board ruled the Kern  River was not fully appropriated, it will finally start the process of getting at those two key…
by Lois Henry
Southern San Joaquin Valley Rivers are running at near historic lows — again. In fact, the Bakersfield City Council passed a resolution Wednesday officially declaring the Kern River as running at only 17% of normal, it’s second driest year since record keeping began in 1893. The driest year on record was 2015, the worst year…
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Water Resources

Maven’s Notebook is an excellent daily accounting of California water happenings statewide.