California has been writing “water checks” it can’t cash for years. An in-depth article from Dr. Thomas Harter, a groundwater specialist with the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences, offers new suggestions for groundwater recovery.
Read: Post-Drought Groundwater in California: Like the Economy After a Deep “Recession,” Recovery Will be Slow. Included in the article are figures that demonstrate the groundwater overdraft overtime, the Central Valley change in storage, water level hydrographs for wells in Yolo and Tulare County.
We’ve compared California’s water crisis to a bank account that’s been overdrawn in previous blogs (read here) and Dr. Harter takes the same idea and applies it to the dynamics of groundwater storage and water level change.
“Groundwater levels are the indicators that show how this bank account is performing. Rising groundwater levels mean increasing storage – more savings. Falling groundwater levels mean decreasing storage – running a deficit.” (Harter)
Figure 1: Average depth to groundwater in Santa Clara Valley, where overdraft began in the 1920s and continued for 40 years. It has taken another 40 years to recover from that overdraft. From: Santa Clara Valley Water District.
Notably, it has taken those basins two to four decades to recover from their deep overdraft accumulated during the early groundwater exploration in the 1920s through 1960s – a recovery often interrupted by droughts (1977, 1988-92).
Massive rain and snow storms across California this winter have resolved the surface water drought and left the public with a false sense of security that the drought, in its entirety, is over. Over the past 100 years, overdraft has drained groundwater resources by 150-200 MAF, with most of that depletion occurring in the middle and southern Central Valley, and in southern California. Dr. Harter suggests using stormwater capture and infiltration to recharge groundwater aquifers.
“Recharge drives the amount of groundwater level recovery.”
MaxWell® drywells appear on many projects in Southern California that are increasing the capacity for aquifer recharge. Today we use MaxWell drywells to manage stormwater as a resource, provide flood control, prevent downstream flooding, improve water quality, and promote groundwater recharge.
Practical solutions begin with drywells. Not only are drywells a small footprint stormwater management solution, they come with an affordable price tag and improve a projects capacity for aquifer recharge. Torrent is ready to help California take the first steps in the right direction towards sustainable water supplies – are you?
Whether you’re familiar or unfamiliar with our products, we can provide a free Lunch & Learn that demonstrates the power of our systems and gives insight on how to include them on your next project. MaxWell® has been outperforming other drywells for over 44 years. Learn more about the history of the MaxWell here.