Science News

LOIS HENRY: Groundwater overdraft numbers ‘don’t add up,’ and that’s a big problem

A mid-August photo of the Kern River near The Park at River Walk shows reduced water levels and sandbars starting to appear. Alex Horvath/The Californian

Bakersfield Californian 

San Joaquin Valley farmers have pumped the basin’s groundwater so furiously and for so long that parts of the valley are sinking, endangering roads and bridges and even breaking one of the main canals that brings in water to support local agriculture. Yet, here in Kern County, state-mandated water budgets presented by several large ag water districts and groundwater sustainability agencies have painted a far rosier groundwater picture. So rosy, the numbers simply couldn’t be believed — and they aren’t.