Farms, ranches, vineyards, orchards, even rural domestic properties realize that limited groundwater hurts businesses and can develop into a dysfunctional lifestyle. You don’t have to look far to see this. Pahrump, Nevada is a perfect example. Groundwater in this area receives around 20,000 acre-feet annually and uses approximately 13,000 acre-feet per year today. But the water needs of an increasing population and the need to grow more food quickly is overtaking the ability for the groundwater aquifer to refill. Pahrump has set itself up for failing to meet the water needs of tomorrow unless something changes today. California is the same. Look at the farming communities of the Central Valley of California.
California is experiencing severe subsidence of the land surface, significant loss of aquifer storage, brutal declines in the water table and an increase in pollutants in some aquifer systems. Nearly 1,000 people lost their well water in Porterville, California. Paso Robles, California is no different. Water levels have dropped in some of the groundwater aquifers over 100 feet in recent years. It became such a big issue that an emergency action was put into effect in San Luis Obispo County. The new ordinance required any new groundwater pumping to be offset with an equal amount of reduced groundwater demand in the basin. California has responded by passing the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014. They recognize that water demand and annual water availability need to hold each other up.
But the “zero sum management alternative” or the notion that increasing crop yield by improving water efficiency doesn't help if you use the same amount of water. Ultimately, you will have no future because you’re still running out of water. Simply put, when there is no longer good quality groundwater to pump, there will be less food, less work and a damaged economy. Dysfunction is not what we want. We want certainty that water will be available to each of us into the future; for us, our kids and grand kids.
There is a way to accomplish this. Set your mind on making decisions that work today and protect your water needs ten years from now. This can only be done, without hardship, by understanding the limits and capacity of your aquifer system and vulnerabilities that you face. Successful farmers and management agencies need a working understanding of their groundwater supply so they know when to back off or move ahead.
So ask yourself, do you know your water? If you had all the data in the world but don’t understand what it is telling you or how to apply it at the right time then you are no better off than not having any information.
Operation Unite® believes and has demonstrated that empowering groundwater users and customers is the most important part of a groundwater monitoring program. We believe that giving you the information you need and teaching you how to use it will result in you making good solutions. Solutions that are good for business and good for the community.
Why don’t we get specific? Go ahead and test your groundwater supply future. Can you say “Yes” to the questions below?
- Does your well’s water level indicate a stable, long-term trend?
- Has your water quality rating remained healthy during the last five years?
- Is your groundwater level recovering between pumping cycles?
- Does your well water remain stable when the rivers and creeks stop flowing?
- Does your information add certainty to future water projections?
If you can say yes to the above questions, you will find success in knowing your water. If you said “No” to any of the above questions, Operation Unite® can help you generate and analyze the right data and engage the water users in making good groundwater management decisions. Our public relationship building and monitoring programs support you, start to finish.
Knowing your water and making decisions based on real data gives you the best opportunity for success. The consequences of your water decisions is an easy analytic for recognizing that success.
It will once again be nice to know that at the end of the day, all will be good.
Founder of Operation Unite®
Producer of Living Water® programming
Developer of the “Know Your Water®” program