DWR Releases Water Available For Replenishment Report

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The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) announces release of the draft “Water Available for Replenishment” report. The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014 directed DWR to develop a report on estimates of water available for replenishment of groundwater.

As stated in a news release, the report separates the state into 10 regions and analyzes water supply and demand in each region in order to estimate how much surface water could be available to replenish groundwater basins. The draft report shows that limited water is available for aquifer recharge in many regions of the state, especially in the Tulare Basin of the southern San Joaquin Valley where an estimated amount of water available for recharge is 50,000 acre-feet a year as compared to the Sacramento River Region where approximately 640,000 acre-feet a year is available for replenishment. The report also considers several factors that could potentially affect the amount of water available for replenishment including existing flow requirements for streams, potential new infrastructure to divert water, and the ability of the State Water Project and Central Valley Project to continue capture and delivery of norther rivers.

The report found that bringing local groundwater basins into sustainable balance would require investments and innovations in integrated water management including conservation, storm water capture, recycling, desalination, water transfers, diversion, conveyance and storage.

Leaders of groundwater sustainability agencies will be able to use the report as a guidance document for developing their groundwater sustainability plans that are due in 2020 for critically overdrafted basins and 2022 for all remaining high and medium priority basins.

The draft “Water Available for Replenishment” report is available here.

DWR seeks public comment on the draft Water Available for Replenishment report through March 10, 2017. Comments may be submitted at sgmps@water.ca.gov with the subject line heading, “Public Comments on WAFR.”

For more information on the development of the report and stakeholder involvement, go to http://www.water.ca.gov/groundwater/sgm/wafr.cfm.