Drought Insurance Under Our Feet

By: The Infocast Water Team

Despite the recent bouts of rain, recent drought conditions have been frightening for some time. A desperate need for water coupled with an unprecedented shortage has caused communities and government agencies to look for new means of acquiring water and for new ways of ensuring a reliable water source.

One focus is on groundwater and the process by which it recharges. Groundwater is recharged naturally by rain and snow melt and, to a smaller extent, by surface water like rivers and lakes. Groundwater has always been a critical supplier of California’s watery needs, but it doesn’t always get the attention it deserves because it can’t be readily seen. In recent years, however, scientists have been studying groundwater to better understand how to preserve it and to figure out ways to recharge already depleted stores.

For instance, in Yucaipa, water agencies are coming together to form a management plan on recharging the groundwater on which the area relies. The San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District, South Mesa Water Co., the city and the Yucaipa Valley Water District are involved in the plan. A company is testing new recharge methods in eight different sites between the 10 Freeway and the San Bernardino Mountains. These tests will determine the most efficient way to recharge the Yucaipa Groundwater Basin, which includes numerous sub-basins that provide water to upward of 50,000 residents. In some instances, the city of Redlands has also made use of this groundwater basin.

Depressingly, the recharge basin in question is down more than 5,800 acre-feet of water from previous years. The amalgamation of agencies that has come together to deal with this  deficit is pushing for more effective and reliable means of groundwater recharge while simultaneously relieving stress on the system. The plan could one day be applied to similar groundwater basins throughout California.

Stay ahead of the curve and take part in California’s growing water revolution at the third annual CA Water Summit! To learn more about the event, please visit: www.ca-water-summit.com.