Water We Going to Do?
Groundwater Management in California
California has just concluded its sixth year of drought, which is considered to be the third worst in the state’s history. Coinciding with this drought are the warmest years by California records, and warmer winters reduce snowpack, one of the main recharging sources of groundwater. With less winter snowmelt to replenish groundwater in the spring, its levels deplete further, and thus groundwater availability in California has been dramatically decreasing. For a variety of reasons (predominantly political), to date, California has had little formal management of groundwater resources. Yet in 2014, California passed the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. This Act requires the local-level to develop groundwater management plans (GWMP) that will achieve sustainability by 2040. This means over 200 local agencies are scrambling to develop groundwater management plans, with little prior experience. Fortunately, there are several dozen GWMPs that were voluntarily created before the Act was passed. My research examines a subset of the voluntary plans developed by the local-level. Results from my coding will provide an analysis of mechanisms for implementation and recommendations as to what elements would best be included in new GWMPs, as well as identify local agencies that have developed plans that are likely to be highly effective. The more carefully implementation is considered in a plan, the more likely it is to be carried out effectively. Governance is integral to management, and one cannot exist without the other.