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Surface water, groundwater, and drought

August 20, 2014
Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California law and state government treat surface water and groundwater differently, with both resources coming under scrutiny as a three-year drought lingers.

SURFACE WATER: Water that comes from above-ground sources, such as rivers and creeks. In the wake of the drought, California ordered mandatory cutbacks this year in the amount of surface water that some communities, farms and other users get. In non-drought years, surface water provides roughly 60 percent of water for the more than 38 million Californians and their enterprises.

GROUNDWATER: Water that has accumulated in aquifers and other underground pools, reachable by wells. During this drought year, up to 65 percent of the state's water is coming from groundwater. Except for some areas where courts or other entities have set limits, property owners currently are allowed to pump as much water as they choose. A bill headed to the state Assembly would introduce the California's first comprehensive groundwater management plan.

 
 

 

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