SACRAMENTO, Calif. – This week marks National Groundwater Awareness Week, and as California enters a third consecutive year of drought it is more important than ever to be aware of groundwater’s role in the state’s water supply and the need to protect this precious resource. All this week, DWR will be showcasing aspects of groundwater on its social media platforms.
Groundwater is a lifeline to communities, industries, agriculture, and ecosystems in California, especially during drought years. It provides 40 percent of the state’s water supply in a normal year, and up to 60 percent in dry years. California’s 515 groundwater basins serve as underground reservoirs storing water that can be extracted when needed. Many of California’s groundwater basins, however, have been depleted as more water has been extracted than recharged into the basins over time, making protection of this valuable resource vitally important.
“The reality is that our water system, which includes groundwater basins throughout the state, is going to be stretched thin this summer,” said DWR Director Karla Nemeth. “We must all do our part and continue to make conservation a way of life to ensure a safe and healthy water supply now and into the future.”
As California enters a third consecutive year of drought, the state has mobilized to respond to acute shortage conditions, including expediting technical and financial assistance to communities experiencing dry wells and supporting local jurisdictions that are implementing conservation actions. Drought assistance resources can be found at drought.ca.gov, and private well owners can report dry wells on DWR’s MyDryWell website to help state and local agencies identify areas in the state where assistance is needed.
At the height of the last major drought in 2014, the state enacted the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) to protect groundwater as a reliable resource for future generations over the long term. Local groundwater sustainability agencies (GSAs) were formed with tools and authorities to work with their communities to develop projects that will both reduce reliance on groundwater and replenish groundwater basins. Local control is at the heart of SGMA because locals know their groundwater basins and their communities best. The State of California supports local decision-makers in developing their plans and working with their communities to manage groundwater sustainably.
DWR has provided nearly $260 million in grant funding and technical assistance for these local agencies and the state continues to make investments in the latest forecasting tools to inform statewide water management decisions. Here are some of the ways communities can find resources and work with DWR to invest in protecting and managing groundwater for long-term sustainability:
- DWR is supporting GSAs across the state that are implementing SGMA by providing planning, technical and financial assistance.
- DWR has developed a public awareness library with groundwater resources including a Groundwater 101 Video available in English, Spanish, Punjabi, and Hmong as well as an interactive Storymap called: Groundwater: Understanding and Managing this Vital Resource
- California’s Groundwater Live website is an interactive mapping tool with the latest groundwater information and conditions to help inform projects and actions.
- DWR has a long history of data collection, monitoring and reporting, and these resources can be found on DWR’s Data and Tools website
- DWR launched the MyDryWell Website where private well owners can report water supply shortages and find resources for assistance
- DWR, in coordination with the State Water Board, developed Groundwater Management Principles and Strategies that contain state actions to help proactively address drought impacts on drinking water wells.
Although Groundwater Awareness Week is limited to a week-long celebration, water awareness and conservation is now a lifestyle that can be practiced every day. The state's water future remains uncertain due to climate change where precipitation variability and extremes are the norm. Everyone can reduce water use and ensure that California is prepared for drought conditions. More information on ways to preserve the state’s valuable water resources can be found at https://saveourwater.com/.
Mary Fahey, Information Officer, Public Affairs, Department of Water Resources
916-820-8083 | firstname.lastname@example.org