Groundwater Matters To All Of Us

Welcome to Groundwater Matters, where we’ll tell the stories of Clean Water Fund’s NGO Groundwater Collaborative.

We will tell the compelling stories of the groups we work with at both the state and local scale; tribes on the north coast trying to maintain their cultural values, communities that have lost their water supply in the Central Valley, local communities impacted by investor-driven unsustainable agriculture, and state experts talking about climate change and the link to sustainable groundwater management.

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It is 2016, the fifth year of California’s drought, and farmers and cities are pumping groundwater at record levels. The worst drought in a millennium has exposed what many have been saying for years; we need groundwater to weather the impacts of climate change, but record levels of pumping threaten to deplete that resource when it is needed most.

Increasing concern about plummeting groundwater supplies in the drought led the state legislature in 2014 to agree to the first groundwater controls in 150 years. But in many cases, implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) relies on the same water agencies that have been guilty of indiscriminate pumping in the past.  Clean Water Fund, which helped pass this landmark legislation, has also been working with state and local organizations to ensure that local efforts to implement the legislation are successful and address problems associated with climate change; plummeting groundwater levels, thousands of dry wells, streams that no longer support species, inland subsidence and coastal seawater intrusion.

We would like to make groundwater visible to the public and decision-makers through this story-telling initiative. Groundwater Matters will tell the stories of communities impacted by groundwater around the state. A series of short films will be shot over the summer, and we’ll share those here.

—By Jennifer Clary, Clean Water Fund.