By Elizabeth Zach, RCAC staff writer
Because California’s groundwater is becoming increasingly critical as drought becomes more common in the state, the next administration should make sustaining it a top priority, according to the Public Policy Institute of California.
In a recently released report PPIC states that climate change is intensifying drought, and groundwater’s low-cost storage makes it an important source. In drought years, it serves more than half of urban and rural water use.
“In some regions, including the San Joaquin Valley, groundwater overdraft—taking more water out of aquifers than is put back—has been going on for decades,” write the report’s authors at the PPIC Water Policy Center. “This has increased the cost of groundwater pumping, dried up wells in many rural areas, and caused land to sink, damaging infrastructure.
“But the greatest long-term impact of unsustainable groundwater use,” they continue, “is the loss of stored water that can be economically pumped during dry periods. This makes the state increasingly vulnerable to drought in a changing climate.”