Wet years can’t make up for California’s groundwater use

Image of a canal running through very dry terrain.

Enlarge / When the California aqueducts cannot carry sufficient water, many areas of the state flip to groundwater. (credit score: Steve Proehl)

Over a 3rd of American greens are grown in California, largely within the state’s Central Valley. The area additionally produces two-thirds of the nation’s fruits and nuts. These crops—and the numerous Individuals who produce and eat them—are closely reliant on California’s water provide. However, given recurrent and extreme droughts, the state’s groundwater provide has been strained.

When floor water provides run low, most arid areas worldwide flip as a substitute to their groundwater. However previous mismanagement of the groundwater in California has brought about elements of the state to sink as a lot as 30 toes and has additionally elevated the frequency of earthquakes alongside the San Andreas fault.

Simply as importantly, the state’s groundwater storage might have been depleted to some extent the place restoration might take many many years. However, provided that this provide is—as its identify suggests—within the floor, modifications to groundwater aren’t the best to measure; the accessible approaches every have benefits and downsides. A brand new research makes use of a mix of 4 of the main strategies to point out that California’s aquifers haven’t been recovering from overdrafts through the droughts over the past 20 years—and so they’re unlikely to take action until policymakers put extra limits in place quickly.

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