Fall 2015
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SGMA Workshops:
Data for Sustainable Groundwater

Water in the West has launched a new series of modeling and data workshops to help water resource managers comply with California’s historic groundwater management law. Passed in 2014, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) requires the state’s fragmented local groundwater management agencies – more than 2,300 of them – to form “Groundwater Sustainability Agencies,” (GSAs) and to coordinate the activities of these agencies across designated groundwater basins. These GSAs are tasked with developing and implementing specific plans to sustainably manage the state’s 127 most important groundwater basins. Good data is critical to sustainable and effective groundwater management, but, when it comes to groundwater, California suffers from significant data availability problems. Informed by a recent survey by Water in the West, this new workshop series seeks solutions to data-related challenges that GSAs are likely to face as they draft and implement implement their plans. More ...

Climate Change and the Water-Energy Nexus in the US-Mexico Border Region

Scholars from the United States and Mexico gathered at Stanford this fall to discuss the intersections of climate change, water management and energy policy at the border of those two countries. Collaborative initiatives addressing the water-energy nexus are needed to more ​effectively manage those critical resources as the global climate changes and water scarcity increases, said Newsha Ajami, who organized the workshop, titled “Water-Energy Nexus in the Context of Climate Change,” to identify opportunities for joint research between academics at Stanford, the Tecnológico de Monterrey of Mexico, and other expert individuals and institutions. More ...

CA Water Sector Moves Into the 21st Century

California’s water sector is going through a paradigm shift. As various communities throughout the state are debating how to overcome the current water shortages and secure reliable supplies for the future, there is an opportunity to rethink our current water supply portfolio and what we want it to look like in the future.  More

In The News


To Save Water, an Underground Movement to Bank El Niño’s Rainfall

Los Angeles Times | Nov. 6, 2015

Deep drought and predictions that climate change will substantially shrink the mountain snowpack that serves as nature's reservoir are amping up calls for more water storage in California. While long-standing proposals for costly new dams and reservoirs remain in play, a confluence of factors is focusing attention on stowing supplies underground, which is generally cheaper and less environmentally damaging than building a big dam and reservoir. Though groundwater storage costs can vary substantially depending on the water source, the median price is significantly less than that of major new reservoirs, according to researchers from the Water in the West program.

Full Story …


Californians Take Drought Lessons From Down Under

KQED | Nov. 2, 2015

California legislators look to Aussies for lessons on how to deal with drought. For starters, Rebecca Nelson, a research fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, estimates half of Melbourne homes capture and store rainwater.

Full Story…


Stanford Project Maps Underground Water -- Aimed at Taking the Guesswork out of Well Drilling

San Jose Mercury News | Oct. 30, 2015
Stanford geophysicist Rosemary Knight is leading the first effort to locate California groundwater using electromagnetic imaging in order to improve well siting and to plan for groundwater recharge.

Full Story …

Race to Abate Arundo in Salinas River is Slow-Paced

The Californian | October 23, 2015
Leon Szeptycki, Executive Director of Water in the West, explains how the history of California water law impacts efforts to control an invasive species.

Full Story …



In Print


Urban Water Sustainability: An Integrative Framework for Regional Water Management 

Hydrology and Earth System Sciences | Nov. 3, 2015

The authors, including Newsha Ajami, Director of Urban Water Policy at Water in the West, demonstrate that water agencies that share common water supplies are in a good position to establish integrative regional management partnerships in order to achieve individual and collective short-term and long-term benefits.
Read the paper... 


On the Road

Hearing on Water Consumption and Alternative Resources
Barton “Buzz” Thompson, co-director of the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, spoke at a hearing of the Select Committee on Water Consumption and Alternative Sources hosted by Assemblymember Rich Gordon. Thompson spoke on California’s options to improve long-term water security.
Read the agenda... 

Energy & Water Nexus Summit with the Bay Planning Coalition
This year’s Summit examined the effects and economic implications of energy and water issues on California, including hot topics such as the drought, desalination, and the Bay Delta Water Conveyance Plan. Newsha Ajami, Director of Urban Water Policy at Water in the West, presented on the economic and environmental correlation between water and energy use.
See the presentation...

What We Are Reading

Most Groundwater is Effectively A Non-Renewable Resource, Study Finds
CBC News | Nov. 16, 2015
The water that supplies aquifers and wells that billions of people rely on around the world is, from a practical perspective, mostly a non-renewable resource that could run out in many places, a new Canadian-led study has found.

6 Places Where Melting Snow Means Less Drinking Water
National Geographic | Nov. 12, 2015
All basins will likely have less water from snowpack as the planet warms. But some regions will be in worse shape than others, a new report says.

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Water in the West

A program of the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment and the Bill Lane Center for the American West

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