Tulare Lake Basin – the missed opportunity

“How Wet Weather Impacted California’s Groundwater Deficit” is a good article about California’s groundwater supply and, I add, the State’s mismanagement of it.

“Even after this year’s heavy rains, California’s groundwater supply remains slowly but steadily shrinking. Our wet year was a missed opportunity by the state to have a plan in place to capture additional rainwater in wet years. I don’t mean more reservoirs. While the snow pack can hold 15 million acre-feet (MAF) and the state’s reservoirs 40 MAF, California’s groundwater reserves, by contrast, are vast. In the porous soils below the ground there may be a billion acre-feet of water storage.

A billion acre feet would fill a skyscraper 60,000 miles high.

“The best way to do this [replenish the ground water], Harter says, would be to divert surplus flows in wet years onto undeveloped land and allow it to sink. Agricultural land is the most porous.”

But then the article falls short. Stops. To me then, the obvious approach is to restore the Tulare Lake basin. That would flood existing farmland for a year or two but the result would be restored Central Valley groundwater.

Unfortunately the article echoes the answer we keep hearing from the state.

“… we could turn around California’s growing groundwater deficit. But we probably won’t,” he says.

Why not? I ask. Is it easier to destroy the entire Delta than ask the farmers to take subsidies every 5-10 years while the Tulare Lake does it’s historical job and restores the groundwater table?

Tulare Lake Article

Tulare Lake Basin Proposal

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