Monday, July 13, 2009

San Joaquin Valley Groundwater Depletion

An interesting new report from the USGS details decreasing groundwater levels and soil subsidence in the San Joaquin Valley. In addition to the reduced groundwater supply, the subsidence threatens infrastructure such as the California aqueduct. There is a lot to discuss here, but I will just highlight the very last sentences from this article in the Sacramento Bee.
Officials could use the model to determine where and when groundwater pumping most threatens the canal. The state could then manipulate surface water delivery in those areas to prevent groundwater pumping.
Another option might be to stop farming in threatened areas.

These two uses of the groundwater model couldn't be much different. The first, sends additional surface water to those who have overdrafted groundwater the most (moral hazard?); whereas the second would stop farming in the same areas. Each strategy would have costs/benefits and I don't know which would be more efficient; but like most of these issues the political battle will be about how those costs and benefits are distributed.

No comments:

Post a Comment