Surface water could refill Californian groundwater supplies

California’s groundwater “overdraft” could be paid off by redirecting high levels of flow in streams, rivers, reservoirs and other water channels, according to researchers in the US.

“There is enough water physically available to mitigate long-term groundwater overdraft,” said Helen Dahlke of the University of California, Davis. “We just have to manage it more efficiently.”

In years of high streamflow, the team’s analysis shows, over three cubic kilometres of excess surface water is exported from California’s Central Valley to the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta, often when the required flows of the delta and its major rivers are exceeded. That’s potentially enough to boost or even replenish groundwater levels, over time. […]

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