Recharge Roundtable Call to Action

January 9, 2019

There are only two ways to reduce groundwater overdraft: decrease pumping or increase recharge.

While addressing California’s overdraft will certainly require both actions, we convened a meeting of water management experts around groundwater recharge. The goal of the "Recharge Roundtable" was to address California's severe groundwater overdraft problem through actions that would produce substantial increases in recharge in the next five years. 

As a collaboration between the Groundwater Resources Association of California and the University of California Water Security and Sustainability Research Initiative, we aimed to motivate focused actions that effect large quantities of recharge and produce regional benefits. The Recharge Roundtable participants and organizers produced a call to action, organized around six key questions and related action steps: 

  1. How much water is hydrologically available for recharge?
  2. How much water can be recharged in different hydrogeologic environments?
  3. What are the legal and regulatory bottlenecks, and how can they be eliminated or reduced?
  4. How can hundreds to thousands of recharge projects be incentivized?
  5. What changes in reservoir reoperation and conveyance are needed?
  6. What are the water quality benefits and concerns for recharge?

It is increasingly obvious that tantalizing possibilities for increasing recharge to California’s aquifers exist, yet state and local water agencies and stakeholders are not sufficiently prepared to capitalize on those possibilities. This call to action is intended to help our state prepare.

Yolo  Bypass  in  flood.  The  City  of  Sacramento  sits  safely  above  the  flood  waters  in  the  background,  near  Sacramento,  CA,  January  11,  2017.  Credit:  Graham  E.  Fogg.
Yolo Bypass in flood. The City of Sacramento sits safely
above the flood waters in the background, near Sacramento,
CA, January 11, 2017. Credit: Graham E. Fogg.


Download the Call to Action:

Recharge Roundtable Call to Action: Key Steps for Replenishing California Groundwater (Updated January 2019)

For more information: 

Contact Graham Fogg, Professor, UC Davis and Co-Director, UC Water.