Scientists have long suspected that the weight of snow and ice in nearby mountains could throw off groundwater assessments tied to elevation changes in California’s Central Valley, but they lacked a way to quantify the effect. A new study demonstrates a solution.
Buzz Thompson discusses a new agreement between states and the federal government—and challenges still facing the millions of people, creatures, plants, and ecosystems that depend on the Colorado River for water.
Whiplash Weather: Lessons from California’s Deadly 2023 Storms
January 26, 2023
A panel of Stanford scientists joined by Sacramento County's spokesperson on water resources, drinking water, and flooding emergencies discussed the science behind recent climate-fueled weather extremes, implications for the state’s drought recovery, and lessons for community preparedness.
Adoption of California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) in 2014 posed a major coordination challenge for diverse public agencies by requiring them to align their activities at the scale of groundwater basins, which is not how most governing bodies are organized. Meeting this requirement meant establishing governing and operating relationships between agencies. Such interorganizational relationships (IORs) are essential in many fields, but are also prone to conflict. Understanding the factors affecting the inclusion, specificity and salience of dispute resolution clauses (DRCs) in interorganizational agreements ensures the long-term functionality of IORs. We examined 74 multi-entity agreements forming new quasi-voluntary local agencies, devoted to developing and implementing groundwater sustainability plans to achieve groundwater sustainability under SGMA.
Harvesting floodwaters to recharge depleted groundwater aquifers can simultaneously reduce flood and drought risks and enhance groundwater sustainability. However, deployment of this multibeneficial adaptation option is fundamentally constrained by how much water is available for recharge (WAFR) at present and under future climate change. Here, we develop a climate-informed and policy-relevant framework to quantify WAFR, its uncertainty, and associated policy actions.