DWR engineering geologist measures groundwater levels
DWR engineering geologist measures groundwater levels at designated monitoring wells in Yolo County. (Photo: CA Dept. of Water Resources)

Press Release Provided by CA Dept. of Water Resources   

A new web-based tool developed by the Department of Water Resources (DWR) will allow the public to explore thousands of groundwater projects across California to get a better understanding of one of the state’s most critical water supply resources. The virtual mapping tool is part of the State’s ongoing commitment to develop new, innovative solutions to provide information and resources to address the effects of California’s changing climate and ongoing severe drought.

The California Groundwater Projects Tool is an interactive mapping tool that allows users to explore a database of nearly 3,000 projects initiated in California over the last decade to protect groundwater resources. The mapping tool features projects that were funded by DWR and external sources such as federal or local funding. The database will include information about project benefits and effectiveness in relation to the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). Users can also access more than 20 project case studies and get guidance on how to measure and track benefits of projects following construction.

“Dry conditions continue to test our communities statewide, especially those that rely heavily on groundwater for multiple needs,” said DWR Sustainable Groundwater Management Deputy Director Paul Gosselin. “This new mapping tool will allow users to view and access information on thousands of groundwater projects being implemented within their local communities and throughout the state. We are encouraged and inspired that groundwater managers and communities are advancing solutions and planning projects within their basins to help achieve groundwater sustainability.”

The web-based tool is intended for anyone interested in learning more about state and local investments in groundwater sustainability and the return on those investments. This information may be considered useful to groundwater sustainability agencies, water agencies, organizations, legislators, Tribes, and the general public.

Groundwater is a critical component of California’s water supply, accounting for 40 percent in a normal year and up to 60 percent during dry conditions. Nearly 85 percent of all Californians rely on groundwater for at least some portion of their water supply. The state is currently seeing the adverse impacts of decades of over pumping groundwater basins including dry drinking water wells and land subsidence. This is exacerbated with climate change and the current prolonged extreme drought conditions. Grant funding for sustainable groundwater management projects has been critical to helping local water agencies address these impacts. The new tool will track the progress of these projects and inform state and local agencies on the types of projects that are making the most positive impacts.

DWR has prioritized developing new web-based tools and resources for well owners, groundwater users and local drought managers to help them prepare for current and future drought conditions. Last month, DWR, in coordination with the State Water Resources Control Board, launched a new Dry Well Susceptibility Tool that identifies areas in groundwater basins across the state that may be prone to domestic well outages. This mapping tool has been developed as a resource for local monitoring and early warning to help increase general awareness of where domestic water wells may be susceptible to going dry to help communities proactively plan for potential well outages.

To help Tribes and underrepresented communities who are experiencing difficulties implementing SGMA in their region, DWR is also offering support through the Underrepresented Community Technical Assistance program. The program offers free needs assessments and preliminary engineering reports to help communities identify needs and develop potential groundwater projects for future funding.

For more information on state drought resources, visit the following websites:

Dry Well Reporting System – The State’s resource to report and track dry wells

Dry Well Susceptibility Tool – Forecasting tool used to plan for well outages before they occur

California’s Groundwater Live – The latest groundwater conditions, including groundwater levels, well infrastructure and land subsidence data

California Water Watch – The latest water conditions, including snowpack, precipitation, groundwater, and reservoir data

Drought.ca.gov – The latest on California’s drought conditions and available assistance resources

Individuals with failing household drinking water wells should submit a report to MyDryWell.Water.CA.gov and contact their county’s Office of Emergency Services for immediate assistance and emergency response to urgent drinking water needs. These contacts can then facilitate requests for state funding.