New Clear Vision


constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted


California Streaming

July 28, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Ecology, Martin Zehr, Politics

Moving from Water Wars to Collaborative Management

by Martin Zehr, aka Mato Ska

Groundwater in California is the focus of the latest water war between water users in the North and users in the South. Some 38% of water used in the state comes from groundwater mining. The battlefield of this war is the Central Valley of California and the Central Valley Aquifer.

Norris Hundley estimated California’s groundwater reserves in his book, The Great Thirst, amounting to 850 million acre-feet, with the caveat that less than half that amount was usable. Running from the Sacramento Valley to the San Joaquin Valley this aquifer circulates roughly 2 million acre feet of water/per year. Withdrawals account for roughly 11.5 million acre ft./yr., according to the Groundwater Atlas of the United States. In December 2009, satellite-imaging projected the loss of 30 cubic kilometers of water since 2003, which is creating an unprecedented political struggle in the state of California. (more…)