Groundwater supplies are at an all-time low in both the Sacramento and San Joaquin River basins. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, management of that dwindling supply was the focus of debate at the state Capitol.
The Legislative Analyst’s Office told lawmakers that without comprehensive statewide regulation of groundwater, management of the state’s water supply will be increasingly difficult. The LAO suggests the state require local water districts to phase in groundwater permitting and keep track of how much water is extracted from all groundwater wells.
Hydrologist Jay Famiglietti with UC Irvine says in some places water will disappear in a matter of decades.
Famiglietti: “The water losses over the past couple of years have been particularly profound and they are roughly equal to 12 .5 cubic kilometers per year which is on annual basis more water than all human water use domestic, municipal, urban water use for all Californians.”
Governor Jerry Brown’s budget proposes almost five million dollars to hire more people to identify, monitor and potentially regulate groundwater basins that are in danger of permanent damage.