Be Well Prepared to Ensure Safe and Reliable Drinking Water

Wednesday, May 24th, 2023

By Bruce Houdesheldt

As snow melts and water flows from the ridgetop-to-the-rivermouth this spring, the Sacramento Valley is Watching Groundwater Levels Recover in the Sacramento Valley and working to Ensure Access to Safe Drinking Water for All California Communities.

We truly appreciate the Department of Water Resources (DWR) recently establishing a new program: Be Well Prepared, a new tool to help communities dependent on groundwater prepare for potential impacts to household water supplies, which include domestic well owners and residents that use and maintain their own well. The goal with the program is to empower domestic drinking water well users by providing the information and resources they need to maintain a safe and reliable household water supply.

This program is an important tool and will support the North State Drinking Water Solutions Network, which NCWA convenes to serve as a forum for all interested parties to share information and coordinate efforts related to ensuring that all communities in the Sacramento River Basin have access to safe drinking water. Successful implementation of sustainable drinking water solutions for communities requires utilization of both the policy tools and financial resources.

While we are encouraged by early signs that groundwater levels are already recovering in many parts of the Sacramento Valley with one wet spring, we know that some areas are not recovering as quickly and we will continue to have vigilance and prepare as we go forward to ensure those dependent on groundwater as a source of drinking water will have reliable supplies. As an example, it was reported at the recent Glenn County Drought Task Force meeting that there has only been one dry well report for 2023, which was due to a collapse of a well following the return of water to the dry well.

The new DWR program to be Well Prepared will be very helpful in the Sacramento Valley. As the region has developed its Pathway for the Future: Sustainable Groundwater Management in the Sacramento Valley, we have prioritized ensuring safe drinking water for all communities and the North State Drinking Water Solutions Network will continue to work with counties, water suppliers, non-profit partners (i.e., North Valley Community Foundation and Rural Community Assistance Corporation) to help local communities access Resources Available to Assist Local Communities with Water Shortages.

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