United States: Finding the sweet spots for managed aquifer recharge

United States
Published Jun 17, 2021

Tridge summary

Much of California's $50 billion agricultural industry depends on groundwater. We typically see only what this water makes possible above the soil: almond and pistachio groves, citrus orchards, rows of lettuce and grapevines and cattle herds in a valley that supplies a quarter of the nation's food even when surface water is scarce.

Original content

But a lot is happening below the surface. Deep underground, intricate channels of sand and gravel weave through tightly packed clays and silts, allowing Earth to hold water like a sponge.Excessive pumping can squeeze out the sponge, permanently depleting an aquifer's storage capacity and releasing toxic arsenic into water supplies. In California's fertile Central Valley, years of rampant overdraft have led to shortages in many low-income, predominantly Latino communities and caused wells to go dry and the land surface to sink, damaging infrastructure."For the longest time, management of our groundwater systems was neglected," said Stanford University geophysicist Rosemary Knight. "People didn't really understand what was happening and didn't recognize the need for careful management."Hidden structuresAmid a rapidly worsening drought and a California mandate to bring aquifer withdrawals and deposits into balance by 2040, there's now growing urgency to better understand the hidden ...
Source: Phys
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