The Department of Water Resources (DWR) presented to the California Water Commission last week on a pilot study looking at opportunities for flood-managed aquifer recharge in the Central Valley. Yet Justin Fredrickson, an environmental policy analyst at the California Farm Bureau, took issue with “two huge elephants in the room.”
In modeling the opportunities for groundwater recharge over the next century, DWR did not factor in the impacts of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), he argued. The administration, he added, has also been making it difficult to negotiate voluntary agreements to head off the potentially deep impacts to the valley of the State Water Board’s plans for unimpaired flows in the Delta. Without policies improving surface water storage, conveyance and underground storage, the hopes for aquifer recharge become “illusory.”
“That choice is sending our agriculture elsewhere, he said. “That's troubling and it is something that the commission and the state of California needs to grapple with.”