2023 water year was 8th wettest of past five decades, California Department of Water Resources says

(FOX40.COM) — California groundwater storage increased by roughly 8.7 million acre-feet in the 2023 water year, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) said.

The department said that it was the 8th wettest water year in 50 years and the groundwater storage increase was the first since 2019.

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According to DWR, a “significant reduction” in groundwater pumping also led to ground surface elevation rising in some places where it had previously sunk due to pumping.

The agency said that more than half of that reduction was in the San Joaquin Valley.

DWR credited the 2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act with helping the state manage groundwater more efficiently.

“As a result of this important legislation, we are collectively learning more than ever before about California’s groundwater basins from data being collected and reported by local [groundwater sustainability agencies] as well as from state investments in new technologies and expanded groundwater monitoring,” the department said.

Despite the overall wetter year, the state is still at a historic low by some measurements.

” Long-term groundwater storage remains in a deficit of nearly 40 million acre-feet over the past two decades, due in part to years of pumping out more water than has been replenished,” the agency said. “It would take nearly five consecutive above average, not just average, water years like 2023 to fill that gap.”

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