By Tim O’Halloran, General Manager, Yolo County Flood Control and Water Conservation District
During the recent drought, there were many stories about declining groundwater levels throughout California, which is expected when less surface water is available. What has not been covered as much is that in most areas groundwater returns to levels that existed before the extended dry years. This is the case in Yolo County, where due to the very wet winter we just experienced, most groundwater in the Yolo Sub-basin is in “good shape.” To put numbers to what “good shape” means, the following table of groundwater levels at 11 selected sites throughout Western Yolo County show real-time groundwater level sensors. All 11 sensors are reporting (not unexpectedly) that groundwater levels have essentially recovered to pre-drought levels as of September 14, 2017.
Importantly, this area is part of a conjunctive management program, where surface and groundwater are managed together in a concerted and very purposeful way to serve water for beneficial used in Yolo County. Yolo County Flood Control and Water Conservation District also pursued additional recharge programs over the past several years—pursuant to Governor Brown’s Executive Order—that is also an important element to sustain our groundwater resources.
This in our view is sustainable groundwater management. These efforts for sustainability will continue to be advanced by the Yolo Subbasin Groundwater Agency, which will be implementing the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) for this area.
For more information on Sacramento Valley groundwater, see the Fact Sheet: The State of Sacramento Valley Groundwater.