Newsom to Allow Easier Floodwater Capture for Groundwater Recharge

Brian GermanAgri-Business, Water

Governor Gavin Newsom is taking action to put the abundance of floodwater in California to better use through an executive order. In response to the substantial storm systems that have come through California, the order seeks to facilitate more groundwater recharge efforts. The order temporarily suspends regulatory barriers for collecting rain and snowmelt to help recharge groundwater basins. The order sets parameters for diverting water without permits and capturing it for groundwater storage.


“California is seeing extreme rain and snow, so we’re making it simple to redirect water to recharge groundwater basins,” Newsom said in a press release. “This order helps us take advantage of expected intense storms and increases state support for local stormwater capture efforts.”

The order is intended to mitigate the risk of significant snowmelt runoff, while simultaneously addressing the need to replenish groundwater basins. Local water agencies and agricultural districts will now be able to capture water from the latest round of storms with fewer restrictions. Parameters of the order include having to divert flood flows between March 10 and June 1. Water must be diverted in relation to flood management and groundwater recharge. The suspension of certain permitting requirements will allow for more groundwater recharge on agricultural lands.  However, there are certain limitations to capturing floodwater on agricultural lands.

Land that has not been in production for three years is ineligible for diversion under the order. Floodwater capture on agricultural land where pesticide or fertilizer applications have been made within the last 30 days is also prohibited. Overall, there is significant potential for farming operations to engage in the streamlined process of diverting stormwater. “This is a practical approach to solving long term water supply uncertainty and will go a long way in providing our underserved communities the groundwater they need to thrive far into the future,” said Western United Dairies President, David Koolhaas.

About the Author

Brian German

Facebook Twitter

Ag News Director, AgNet West