Water Board Authorizes More Than a Million Acre-Feet of Groundwater Recharge

Brian German Agri-Business, Water

Groundwater recharge efforts have been significantly bolstered by multiple storm systems beginning last December. As a result, the State Water Resources Control Board has authorized the diversion of 1.2 million acre-feet of water. The diverted water has been used for groundwater storage, wildlife refuge support, along with other purposes. A total of nine temporary permits for groundwater recharge have been issued this season, eight of which are located in the Central Valley.

Groundwater Recharge

“This is the most water we have made available for groundwater recharge in such a short amount of time,” State Water Board Chair, E. Joaquin Esquivel said in a press release. “It speaks to how efficient our temporary permitting process has become since the state first prioritized capturing stormwater underground. However, the pace of extreme weather events challenges all of us to accelerate our recharge efforts.”

The 180-day permits were developed for seasonal purposes and can be issued within four months. In contrast, standard permits can take several years to fully process. The total amount of water that has been diverted as a result of the temporary permits will not be known until reporting comes in later this year. Additionally, Governor Gavin Newsom’s Executive Orders have also helped to supplement the recharge efforts. An estimated 90,000 acre-feet of water has also been diverted from flooded areas and redirected to underground aquifers.


Governor Newsom has also announced additional funding of $217 million to help address water supply reliability, conservation, and flood mitigation. The Department of Water Resources has awarded funding to 44 projects throughout the state. Investments are being made to improve the Leaky Acres Basin in Fresno County. San Joaquin County will be diverting water from New Hogan Reservoir for groundwater recharge and drinking water purposes. Funding is also being used for reinforcing the Santa Anita dam and removal of sediment to increase the capacity of storage and downstream groundwater recharge.

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Brian German

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Ag News Director, AgNet West