San Joaquin Valley Groundwater Recharge
The San Joaquin Basin in California faces significant water management challenges including groundwater overdraft and nitrate contamination of groundwater. Groundwater pumping is occurring at an unsustainable rate, with annual pumping exceeding natural recharge.
This set of projects, coordinated by Sustainable Conservation, serves as a cutting edge solution, poised to demonstrate that homegrown, local solutions can solve regional water challenges. The projects directly benefit participating farmers and adjacent landowners because a significant proportion of the recharged water will replenish groundwater directly below project sites, allowing farmers to draw upon replenished groundwater when surface water is scarce. Rural and underserved community members who depend on groundwater also stand to benefit due to improved water quality and reliability of drinking water.
The goal of this portfolio of projects is to involve as many different crops, farmers, and water management methods as possible so results will inform a broad range of growers about the potential to use their lands to recharge groundwater throughout the San Joaquin Valley region. Demonstration and validation of this approach will be used to promote wide scale adoption of groundwater recharge projects by growers and water management agencies across the region and in other suitable areas of California.
Projects will extend across a large area from near Modesto to areas south of Bakersfield. The project goal is focused on implementing a significant portfolio of projects (more than 10) where project partners can demonstrate, monitor, and promote on-farm water recharge to benefit farmers and water management agencies in the productive San Joaquin Valley of California.
* Project supports voluntary transactions to change, reduce or stop water use – either temporarily or permanently – to protect or restore water for environmental benefit