This commentary was published in the Sacramento Bee on April 18, 2018.
California’s biggest agricultural region also has the state’s biggest groundwater deficit, which has long-term consequences for the region’s economy and farming.
The San Joaquin Valley—where decades of unchecked pumping has depleted reserves, resulting in a long-term deficit of nearly 2 million acre-feet per year—has about a generation to bring its groundwater use into balance to comply with the state’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. Storing more water underground through “groundwater recharge” can help, reducing the deficit by about a quarter.
Image above courtesy of Jonathan Parker, Kern Water Bank Authority