The
state of California relies on many large alluvial aquifer systems to supply its
growing population with water. A combination of very little recharge through
precipitation and a warm, dry climate have resulted in droughts and surface
water shortages, increasing the reliance on groundwater. The demand greatly
outweighs supply particularly in Southern California where land use is
dominated by agriculture. Agriculture accounts for around 80% of all groundwater
used in the state (Nelson, 2012). The California Department of Water Resources
estimate that groundwater extraction rates exceed natural recharge by two
million acre feet per year (DWR, 2013). Strategies to manage the falling
groundwater levels have been in effect for decades. Legislation was introduced in
1937 and today the California Department of Water Resources manages the long-term
California Water Plan. Conflict between users is managed through law and regulations,
however there are many ongoing disputes. The water transport and delivery
infrastructure in California consist of some of the largest purpose built water
networks, although in need of upgrading. Water recycling is extensively used
for both potable and non-potable water. Artificial recharge projects are one of
the most cost effective solutions for the state, despite being an expensive
technique. The next California Water Plan update will be published in 2018 with
emphasis expected to be on sustainability through management. 

The
state of California relies on many large alluvial aquifer systems to supply its
growing population with water. A combination of very little recharge through
precipitation and a warm, dry climate have resulted in droughts and surface
water shortages, increasing the reliance on groundwater. The demand greatly
outweighs supply particularly in Southern California where land use is
dominated by agriculture. Agriculture accounts for around 80% of all groundwater
used in the state (Nelson, 2012). The California Department of Water Resources
estimate that groundwater extraction rates exceed natural recharge by two
million acre feet per year (DWR, 2013). Strategies to manage the falling
groundwater levels have been in effect for decades. Legislation was introduced in
1937 and today the California Department of Water Resources manages the long-term
California Water Plan. Conflict between users is managed through law and regulations,
however there are many ongoing disputes. The water transport and delivery
infrastructure in California consist of some of the largest purpose built water
networks, although in need of upgrading. Water recycling is extensively used
for both potable and non-potable water. Artificial recharge projects are one of
the most cost effective solutions for the state, despite being an expensive
technique. The next California Water Plan update will be published in 2018 with
emphasis expected to be on sustainability through management. 

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