Groundwater recharge pond located in Coachella (DWR)
Groundwater recharge pond located in Coachella (DWR)

Press Release Provided by Department of Pesticide Regulation

In late April the Department of Water Resources (DWR) awarded $26 million in grant funding for capital project investments to improve water supply security, water quality and the reliability of domestic wells – advancing access to safe, affordable drinking water.

This funding provides important assistance for successful local implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), which establishes a framework for managing the state’s groundwater resources and will help California be better prepared for longer, more severe droughts.

“California’s current drought conditions following a second consecutive dry year speak to the importance of managing our groundwater for long-term reliability,” said DWR Director Karla Nemeth. “Today’s funding awards further the state’s support for local leaders as they manage their groundwater supplies, particularly supporting communities at risk of drought impacts.”

Groundwater, an important source of water that is stored underground, often serves as a critical buffer against the impacts of drought and climate change. This grant funding supports projects that enhance groundwater quality, help make groundwater wells more reliable and less likely to run dry, reduce the risk of subsidence, increase drought resiliency, reduce flood risks, and create more reliable dry-year water supplies during future droughts.

The six awards include 16 individual construction projects within critically overdrafted groundwater basins in the Central Valley. One of the projects, located in Fresno County, will construct 60 wells that will be used to replenish depleted groundwater aquifers with stormwater.

An additional three projects will create infrastructure to use Flood Managed Aquifer Recharge (Flood-MAR) on 45,000 acres of agricultural land in Madera County. Flood-MAR is an integrated resource management strategy that harnesses flood water from rainfall or snow melt and redirects it onto agricultural, working landscapes, and managed natural lands to recharge parched aquifers.

All of the awards will partially or solely benefit underrepresented communities that have limited access to safe, affordable drinking water. Funding for these awards was made possible by voter-approved Proposition 68. DWR will begin working with grantees immediately to develop and execute grant agreements. The selection of a second round of grants is expected to begin in spring 2022 and will offer approximately $70 million in competitive grant funding.