By Alex Boesch
Yuba County Water Agency
Protecting and enhancing Yuba County’s groundwater aquifer is one of Yuba County Water Agency’s foremost priorities.
Through careful stewardship of groundwater resources and the supplementation of surface water to correct previous over-drafting, Yuba County’s groundwater basin has recovered to historic levels and continues to remain within that range.
Using surface water supplies from New Bullards Bar Reservoir has led to the restoration of a sustainable aquifer, which is vitally important because groundwater is the sole source of municipal water for 80 percent of Yuba County’s population.
Despite the unseasonable lack of precipitation experienced this year, groundwater levels in Yuba County are healthy as a result of decades of active management by water managers at YCWA and local water districts.
YCWA works cooperatively with eight irrigation districts, known as the member units, to manage groundwater resources in the north and south Yuba subbasins. This management includes the careful monitoring of groundwater levels and the use of surface water supplies to meet much of the agricultural water needs in the county.
In addition to careful management, the heavy precipitation during the 2016-17 winter led to substantial groundwater increases and the highest levels ever recorded in many wells in the valley portion of Yuba County.
As a local groundwater sustainability agency for the north and south Yuba subbasins, YCWA is currently in the process of developing a groundwater sustainability plan for both basins.
California’s Department of Water Resources recently granted the agency more than $800,000 to further assist in the development of its plan, which will provide a guide to achieve long-term sustainability.
Surface water and groundwater conjunctive management are at the core of YCWA’s commitment to resource management. Continuing to properly manage groundwater helps provide a buffer against threats to surface water rights, climate change or changes in water use patterns, and contributes to a reliable water supply.