Critics say valley groundwater managers put too much emphasis on recharge, not enough on pumping cuts

 •  by Jesse Vad, SJV Water reporting intern
A backhoe digs a pipe trench for a recharge basin being constructed in the Delano-Earlimart Irrigation District in this Jan. 2021 photo. The district is in the process of building recharge ponds that will eventually cover 950 acres. Agricultural water districts in Kern County have thousands of acres of recharge basins. CREDIT: Lois Henry

Groundwater recharge seems to be priority No. 1 in the San Joaquin Valley’s scramble toward sustainability. With water restrictions on the horizon, groundwater managers can’t build recharge sites fast enough. But will it be enough?

“That’s something that’s always on the forefront of my mind, is this going to be enough?” said Kassy Chaughan, executive officer of the North Kings groundwater sustainability agency. “The answer really is, we don’t know.”

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Jesse Vad, SJV Water reporting intern

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