California’s largest agricultural region, the San Joaquin Valley, is facing numerous challenges to its groundwater supply, including overdraft and contamination, according to a new study that explores threats to overall sustainability in the region.
Because of excessive groundwater extraction, subsidence—the sinking or settling of the ground’s surface—is dragging rural Yolo and Colusa counties in California downward.
The federal government has asked the governors of seven Western states that draw water from the Colorado River to finally draft a drought contingency plan. This follows an earlier order to do so, but California and Arizona have been unable to complete the task.
California’s rural communities, which often rely on wells and increasingly must contend with contaminated water, are now at the forefront of the incoming governor’s budget.
The Colorado River, which serves seven states in the American Southwest, will likely have a shortage of water by 2020 and the federal government has ordered the states to plan for drought conditions.