EDF Release Report: The Future of Groundwater in California: Lessons in Sustainable Management from Across the West

The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute at the University of Nebraska recently released a report titled, “The Future of Groundwater in California: Lessons in Sustainable Management from Across the West”, that investigates nine case studies from six western states to present key lessons learned to foster effective groundwater management. The report considers four categories of management tools – regulatory, incentive-based, agency supply augmentation and protection, and education and outreach – to evaluate how these tools are being used to address water quantity and quality, and surface water and groundwater interaction challenges.

The Kings Basin is among the nine case studies investigated in the report. For years the basin has operated under conditions of overdraft with parts of the basin threatened by the migration of total dissolved solids (TDS) and nitrates in the water table. The report highlights the collaborative efforts by local water management agencies and the Kings Basin Water Authority to achieve multiple basin management goals. The three categories of management tools that have been implemented in the Kings Basin are Incentive-based, agency supply augmentation and protection, and education and outreach. Takeaway lessons learned from the Kings Basin includes the development of data-driven models, coupled with robust outreach efforts, to unite diverse stakeholders around common management goals; development of inclusive regional management plans to encourage, prioritize, and help fund integrated collaborative tools to achieve multiple basin goals, and lastly, develop and implement regional projects to build trust among basin stakeholders.

The full report may be viewed and downloaded from the Environmental Defense Fund’s website.

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