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In the News: Water Banking, Groundwater Recharge and Climate Change


Now Available: Goal, Objectives, Principles and Constraints for the Sacramento Regional Water Bank – RWA, 6/9/23 – The RWA is pleased to release a foundational document that describes the overall strategy, process, and considerations related to the development and implementation of the Sacramento Regional Water Bank.

CWD Digs Deep for Water – Carmichael Times, 4/28/23 – A $6 million Aquifer and Storage and Recovery Well will limit future shortages for 44,000 Carmichael Water District customers.

California got a lot of rain this year and groundwater is the key to storing itABC 7, 4/18/23 — The intense storms over the last few months have brought more water to California than we know what to do with. For example, in downtown Los Angeles, January through March was the wettest quarter since 2018 with more than 22 inches recorded in that three-month period.

These Farmers Recharged Groundwater by Catching Atmospheric RiversCivil Eats, 4/17/23 – After the first of California’s winter storms, Michael Naito went out into his dormant fields to open his water valves, intentionally flooding the land. The fields filled up like a bathtub over the next three days. The water rose until it covered the feet of his leafless pistachio and almond trees, as well as the tangles of barren grape vines. It looked like an ephemeral pond that disappeared over the next few weeks.

California may lose 10% of its water supply but a solution ‘is right under our feet’ – Sacramento Bee, 3/31/23 – California’s rivers are once again surging with winter runoff, a beautiful sight after several consecutive dry years. Sacramento-area water providers are working together to capture as much of this excess water as possible for use during drier days. Yet, we could be doing so much more with additional support from state and federal decision-makers.

Groundwater wells activated in Roseville could bank nearly 44 million gallons of water, city says – KCRA 3, 3/15/23 – Roseville is expected to bank 133 acre-feet of water, or nearly 44 million gallons — enough to provide drinking water to 366 homes for a year, according to a release from the city.

Roseville groundwater wells to bank nearly 44 million gallons of water – CBS 13, 3/15/23 – Roseville is taking advantage of what has been a very wet March.

Residents find own flood solutions while Roseville starts saving water – ABC 10, 3/14/23 – Through Saturday, Roseville will pull in 44 million gallons, which is enough to provide drinking water to 366 homes for the entire year.

Recent rain impact on groundwater supply – Fox 40, 3/14/23 – Roseville officials are using rain water to recharge the groundwater basin, which will be used for future use.

Upcoming storm could melt massive snowpack, officials warn of potential flooding –  Cap Radio, 3/7/23 2022 study on the American River Basin found that in the future, warming temperatures due to climate change will melt snowpack earlier in the year. According to the study, runoff historically peaked in May, but it will likely begin to peak sometime in March by 2050 and in February by 2085.

Recording and Materials Posted for the Second Water Bank Stakeholder Forum – RWA, 2/14/23 – The first Stakeholder Forum explored the proposed Water Bank Goal, Objectives, principles and Constraints for the Water Bank.

Can California’s floods help recharge depleted groundwater supplies? –, 1/24/23 – The drenching storms that hit California in recent weeks represented a long-sought opportunity for Helen Dahlke, a groundwater hydrologist at the University of California, Davis. Dahlke has been studying ways to recharge the state’s severely depleted groundwater by diverting swollen rivers into orchards and fields and letting the water seep deep into aquifers. But carrying out such plans requires heavy precipitation—which had been scarce.

When Did the California Drought Start? – Newsweek, 1/24/23 – After weeks of torrential rain, California’s persistent drought is beginning to ease. “California has been in dry conditions for much of the last 10 years, with only two years of wet,” Jeff Mount, senior fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California Water Policy Center, previously told Newsweek.

Is the Drought Over? Reflections on California’s Recent Flood-Drought Combo – California Water Blog, 1/22/23 Early January was an unusually wild ride of atmospheric rivers. Nine sizable systems produced a train of storms beginning about New Years and lasting for several weeks across almost all of California. After three years of drought, the storms reminded us that California has flood problems similar in magnitude to its drought problems, and that floods and droughts can occur in synchrony. As the dust begins to settle, let’s look at the impacts of these early January floods and examine if the recent three-year drought and its longer-term drought impacts might be ending.

How will California’s water storage hold up in future dry-wet cycles? –  Cap Radio, 1/19/23 California’s recent storms have brought record amounts of precipitation but have also revived a perennial debate at the state Capitol over water storage and management. While the recent series of atmospheric rivers led to catastrophic flooding in parts of the state and broke some precipitation records, climate scientists say the state’s regular wet and dry cycles will only become more extreme in the future due to a warming climate.

New project trying to save California’s storm water from being flushed out to ocean – ABC10, 1/19/23 – Managing floodwater in big storms but saving enough for the dry season is a constant battle. But in the Turlock area, there might be an answer.

The Key to California’s Survival Is Hidden Underground – Wired, 1/13/23 – The state is ping-ponging between severe drought and catastrophic flooding. The solution to both? Making the landscape spongier.

Heavy rain is still hitting California. A few reservoirs figured out how to capture more for drought – NPR, 1/11/23 – Despite several weeks of torrential rain and flooding, California is still facing a severe multi-year drought. That has many people thinking about how to better capture winter floodwaters to last through the dry season.

Roseville using aquifer storage to retain excess water from storms – CBS13, 1/6/23 – With each storm, there’s a similar question as area reservoirs release excess water: why are we getting rid of what we need?

Water Bank Questions Feature Launched – RWA, 1/4/23To keep stakeholders updated about the Water Bank’s progress and to address questions between Stakeholder Forums, the Program Team is launching a new “Water Bank Questions of the Week” e-mail.

Recording and Presentation Posted for the First Water Bank Stakeholder Forum – RWA, 10/27/22 – The first Stakeholder Forum explored key topic areas such as water sources and management in the Sacramento region; projected impacts of climate change on the region’s water resources; how water banking works; how a Water Bank could help the region adapt to climate change; and other topics.

RWA Initiates Public Engagement Process for the Sacramento Regional Water Bank – RWA, 9/27/22 – The Regional Water Authority (RWA) is launching a public engagement process for the Sacramento Regional Water Bank, a groundwater storage program utilizing the expansive reservoir under the urban core for storing water during wet times for use during dry times. The Water Bank is identified as one of several key strategies for addressing the projected impacts of climate change on local water supplies in the newly-released American River Basin Study produced by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation in partnership with local water agencies.

Recording and Materials Posted for Webinar on American River Basin Study Impacts and Strategies – RWA, 9/21/22 – The recording and fact sheet have been posted for the webinar: The American River Basin Study: Climate Change Impacts and Strategies for Addressing the Weather Extremes that Threaten our Water Supplies, Flood Protection and Environment, a special virtual briefing for policymakers and decision-makers, recorded on September 21, 2022.

Study Details Climate Change Impacts and Strategies for Addressing Future Water Demands, Flood Risks, and Environmental Impacts – RWA, 8/31/22 – The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has released a long-awaited study that identifies future climate and hydrology projections and outlines gaps between water supplies and projected urban and agricultural demands in the American River Basin.

Groundwater beneath Sacramento Valley offers hope in dry times – Maven’s Notebook,  8/9/22By Jim Peifer and David Guy – As another serious drought grips California, we are again confronted with hard truths. One is this: California needs more water storage during these challenging years. This simple fact becomes clearer each year with more extreme weather—both droughts and floods. Prolonged dry periods like this are expected to become more frequent with climate change. So, we must tackle a difficult question: How to store more water in a 21st-century way with 21st-conditions?

Water Providers Receive $10.3 Million in Grants to Boost Groundwater Banking, Resiliency to Drought – RWA, 3/27/22 – The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) has announced the award of over $10.3 million in grant funding for two Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) groundwater wells that allow water providers to add treated water into the groundwater aquifer during wet times, store that water underground for weeks, months or even years, and extract it during dry times.

SAC BEE EDITORIAL: If the Sierra snowpack vanishes as feared, California will need ideas like this for water – Sacramento Bee, 2/2/22 – Sacramento — which once only had to worry about seasonal floods — now worries each year about delivering water to its citizens in a hotter and drier California. But there is a way for Sacramento to capture rain and snow, and for the broader region to keep surface reservoirs like Folsom and Oroville lakes nearly full. This same technique could help Sacramento capture enough water to share with neighboring areas in dry years, as well as to store it when we need it most. It’s called groundwater banking. The need for it will only become more urgent as the Sierra snowpack starts to disappear.