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Open Access Publications from the University of California

California's agricultural regions gear up to actively manage groundwater use and protection

  • Author(s): Harter, Thomas
  • et al.

New regulations are emerging in response to historic groundwater depletion and widespread groundwater quality degradation in California. They aim at long-term preservation of groundwater resources for use in agriculture, in urban areas and for the support of ecosystems in streams dependent on groundwater. The regulations are driving a historic shift in the way the agriculture sector is engaged in managing and protecting groundwater resources in California. A review and synthesis of these recent regulatory developments — the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act and new policies under the California Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act — clarifies key challenges for farmers, scientists and regulators and points to the need for continuing innovation in agricultural practices as well as in planning and policy.

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