Replenishing the Groundwater

A batch of good ideas in this blog post from the California Water Blog.

An excerpt.

A strong El Niño nonetheless presents a precious opportunity to replenish some of these vital underground reserves faster than would otherwise occur.

California’s vast acreage of irrigated farmland holds the key. Using the existing irrigation network, we can capture flood flows from our rivers onto suitable dormant or fallow agricultural fields, allowing the surplus water to infiltrate aquifers.

A team of University of California scientists has already identified 3.6 million farm acres with soils most conducive to groundwater recharge – those with high percolation rates. They developed an interactive map where growers can obtain site-specific information on the suitability of soils for on-farm recharge.

In other words, more than one-third of the state’s nearly 10 million acres of irrigated cropland could potentially be re-purposed as groundwater infiltration basins during winter and early spring – outside the usual growing season.

Likewise, the same infrastructure that conveys more than 30 million acre-feet of water to irrigate California crops during the growing season could be used to divert high river flows onto fields in the off season, mimicking natural floodplains.

Retrieved October 14, 2015 from

About David H Lukenbill

I am a native of Sacramento, as are my wife and daughter. I am a consultant to nonprofit organizations, and have a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Behavior and a Master of Public Administration degree, both from the University of San Francisco. We live along the American River with two cats and all the wild critters we can feed. I am the founding president of the American River Parkway Preservation Society and currently serve as the CFO and Senior Policy Director. I also volunteer as the President of The Lampstand Foundation, a nonprofit organization I founded in 2003.
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