Sustainable Groundwater

Throughout the West, groundwater pumping occurs at unsustainable levels. This practice jeopardizes the primary water supply for many communities, industries and the environment. It also dramatically decreases communities’ resiliency during dry times when groundwater serves as a critical buffer against surface water shortages. Water in the West facilitates interdisciplinary research in law and policy, geophysics, engineering, economics and ecosystem science to identify and develop solutions for more effective groundwater management and policy. We develop new tools to better understand groundwater resources; identify ways to resolve water allocation disputes; and find legal, regulatory and policy pathways to successful implementation of groundwater legislation.

What's New

March 13, 2017

Scientists use Earth-imaging technologies to study the intrusion of saltwater into freshwater aquifers along the California coast.

December 08, 2016

A new report analyzes progress in implementing landmark CA groundwater legislation: the formation of new agencies to manage groundwater.

In Focus

Groundwater Data Workshop Series

Stanford University’s Water in the West Program and The Gould Center for Conflict Resolution, in conjunction with the California State University Sacramento’s Center for Collaborative Policy are hosting a four-part Groundwater Data Workshop Series.

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Understanding Groundwater

Our series explores groundwater management in California through new research into key groundwater issues, interactive graphics and a synthesis of existing knowledge on groundwater in California, all designed to advance public understanding of this critical issue.

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June 27, 2016

After decades of dysfunction that have exacerbated chronic water problems, California is on the cusp of a new era due to historic groundwater legislation. However, meeting the law’s goals will require overcoming stubborn systemic obstacles, according to a report by researchers at Stanford’s Water in the West program and the Gould Center for Conflict Resolution at the Stanford Law School.

In the Media

March 22, 2017
New Scientist

Senior Woods Fellow, Noah Diffenbaugh discusses using groundwater recharge as a way to store water during heavy precipitation seasons.

March 13, 2017
Stanford News

Senior Woods Fellow, Rosemary Knight and her team in the School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences discuss using Earth-imaging technologies to study the intrusion of saltwater into freshwater aquifers along the California coast.

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