SAC BEE EDITORIAL: If the Sierra snowpack vanishes as feared, California will need ideas like this for water

By February 2, 2022Uncategorized

BY THE SACRAMENTO BEE EDITORIAL BOARD

Sacramento — which once only had to worry about seasonal floods — now worries each year about delivering water to its citizens in a hotter and drier California.

But there is a way for Sacramento to capture rain and snow, and for the broader region to keep surface reservoirs like Folsom and Oroville lakes nearly full. This same technique could help Sacramento capture enough water to share with neighboring areas in dry years, as well as to store it when we need it most.

It’s called groundwater banking. The need for it will only become more urgent as the Sierra snowpack starts to disappear.

According to a recent study by researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, snowpack in the Sierra Nevada mountains will become increasingly scarce, leading to decades-long stretches without snowfall by the 2050s.

Through groundwater banking, providers can divert water into an underground aquifer that is less dependent on seasonal rainfall and can be stored until it is needed.

State and local experts say major funding is needed for this strategy to take root in Sacramento. The Sacramento Regional Water Authority, a joint powers authority representing nearly two dozen local water providers, is seeking funding to capture rainfall and surface water that is currently lost from the Sierra snowpack and surface water reservoirs. It’s a promising plan that deserves consideration from lawmakers as California enters a future shaped by worsening climate change.

Continue reading the full editorial here.