University of California

Presentations 2016

Detailed Report by Session Themes : Groundwater Governance

Alley, William

Presentation Title
Connecting Regional Groundwater Assessments, Agriculture, and Groundwater Governance
Institution
National Ground Water Association
Presentation
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Abstract
Regional groundwater assessments provide a venue for understanding groundwater from a systems perspective with agriculture typically a prominent factor. Such assessments, however, can easily become largely an end in themselves. This presentation focuses on key challenges in making regional groundwater assessments more relevant to agricultural water management and groundwater governance. Topics include integrating water quantity and quality, portraying longer-term effects, addressing multiple scales, the importance of water use data, distinguishing between climatic and direct human influences, and accounting for agricultural effects on groundwater recharge. The importance of a whole water cycle approach is emphasized.

Aly, Osvaldo

Presentation Title
Aquifer System Urucuia: governance and integrated water management in the São Francisco River Basin - Brazil's Northeast
Institution
CEPAS-IGc- USP
Presentation
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Abstract
The San Francisco River basin has 2.696 km and 638.576 km2 of drainage basin, which surrounds parts of of Alagoas, Bahia, Goiás, Minas Gerais, Pernambuco and Sergipe states, plus the Federal District. Most of water withdrawal of 181 m3/s, 63%, is used to irrigation of 500.000 hectares, mainly located in the Middle São Francisco. This region consumes more than half of the flow of irrigation to products fruits and grains (soybeans, cotton and corn) for the foreign market.The region has experienced water stress due to increased demand for water resources, resulting in growing exploitation of groundwater Aquifer System Urucuia (SAU), a regional aquifer which covers an area of ??76,000 km2, ranging from southern Piauí to northwest of Minas Gerais, majority located in western Bahia.The São Francisco River Basin is an example of water conflict due to multiple and tensioning uses. High rates of extracted flow, water pollution, energy production, navigation, prolonged drought effects and, recently, disputes related to water diversion to ensure water security to Northern Northeast constitute a mix of threats and drivers of conflicts. This aquifer has great potential, in part already exploited, to supply the urban and irrigation demands. At the same time it plays an important role in regulating the river flow, especially in periods of drought, which in the region of Sobradinho, for instance, accounts for 90% of the flow.The Urucuia can be described as an open access aquifer, making it vulnerable to contamination by agricultural chemicals and reduction of natural recharge, product of pores compaction that reduces rainwater infiltration. Furthermore the greater part of this aquifer recharge area coincides with new expansion of agriculture irrigated areas. On the other hand, over-pumping is likely to interfere with its contribution to baseflow maintenance to Corrente, Carinhanha and Grande rivers, tributaries of São Francisco River.Between 2003 and 2006 the number of grants of Urucuia water exploitation for irrigation increased by 123%, from 4,500 m3/h to 14,340 m3/s, increasing in 320% the removal flow. It is worth noting that in Brazil there is a serious problem related to illegal wells in operation; it is estimated that for every given well there are other three not granted. This has consequences for the sustainable management of groundwater resources.On the exposed complexity above and considering the climate change consequences, this article uses the concept of governance related to socio-cultural, economic, ecological and institutional. It aims to analyze public, social and private interests to harmonize the proposals of different users in order to permit a sustainable development and use of water resources. In addition, it will be analyzed how the concept of Integrated Water Resources could enhances governance and water security in this basin.

Bartlett, Gina

Presentation Title
Negotiating agriculture representation in decision making on groundwater sustainability
Institution
Consensus Building Institute
Presentation
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Abstract
Recent California law requires local public agencies overlying basins in overdraft conditions to come together to form public agencies to manage groundwater sustainably. This paper will examine challenges that the law presents for agriculture groundwater users to participate in governance decision-making: unifying diverse agricultural interests and representing agricultural groundwater users via existing or by forming new public agencies. The paper will draw on coastal case studies, specifically Sonoma County in Northern California, Ventura County in Southern California, and the Salinas Valley on the Central Coast.Many growers and operators in California agriculture rely heavily, sometimes solely, on groundwater for production. In groundwater basins, growers, processors, and shippers may all rely on a common resource. Agriculture is also likely to be dispersed over a large geographic area within the same groundwater basin with different climatic conditions and crops subject to management and state requirements for sustainability. Growers may have very different cultures, social classes, and water use practices – think orchards, strawberries, vegetable farmers, grape growers, and cattle ranchers. Yet, despite the diversity within agriculture and the necessity of groundwater to support the agriculture (and local) economy, agriculture may be vying for just one seat on a governing body that can levy fees and limit pumping under the new law. This is one significant challenge with implementing groundwater sustainability. The law is designed for public bodies to step up groundwater management. While agriculture relies on irrigation districts that qualify as public bodies to represent agricultural interests in some basins, many have no public entities to fully represent the interests of agriculture. Often representation of diverse agriculture interests falls to county governments and elected officials. Concerns about the ability of government staff to be able to represent agricultural interests are leading agriculture to innovate and organize to form new public bodies. For example, the Sonoma County Farm Bureau has been advocating creation of irrigation districts to secure supply of water for agriculture and contribute to the sustainability of groundwater resources. Two of the three medium-priority basins took an approach to establish an agricultural water district through an election process with the Local Agency Formation Commission while the third basin took a legislative approach. The first group ended up resurrecting an existing dormant district and transforming it to a larger and more representative district to serve on the groundwater agency. The paper will discuss the merits and challenges of these different approaches, looking at both negotiation theory and practical case experience to examine options for representing agricultural interests to support unifying diverse agricultural interests to engage effectively as “one voice” in groundwater management.

Berg, Carolyn

Presentation Title
New Model for Groundwater Management in Rural-Agricultural Basins
Institution
County of San Luis Obispo
Presentation
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Abstract
California’s Central Coast Hydrologic Region relies on groundwater for approximately 80-percent of its water supply to serve rural, urban, agricultural, and environmental demands. San Luis Obispo County, one of six counties within this region, has 22 groundwater basins underlying 3,304 square miles of largely rural and agricultural lands. Historically, these groundwater basins have had no requirements to manage groundwater. However in January 2015, the State enacted its first major groundwater law –the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA)—that requires local agencies to establish governance structures in order to sustainably manage groundwater resources. Some groundwater basins have adequate existing local agencies capable of this task; others do not. This topic will briefly overview potential management strategies being considered in local basins. Speakers will focus discussion on a unique case study of a governance model developed by stakeholders in the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin (Paso Basin). Stakeholders in this basin worked with Assemblyman Achadjian to introduce AB2453, a bill which created the opportunity to form California’s first hybrid water district. The intent was to have a board of directors that reflected the unique demographics of the basin. Instead of a basin comprised solely of agricultural interests, the Paso basin has a diverse mix of rural residential, commercial wineries, irrigated agriculture (vineyards, deciduous fruit, forage crops & vegetables) and livestock.Traditional water districts board of directors are elected by landowners on a weighted ‘one acre-one vote’ methodology. AB2453 modifies this practice by instituting a hybrid nine member board reflective of the various land uses in the Paso Basin. Three members have to be registered voters living within the district boundary, and would be elected by registered voters living within the district boundary. The remaining six seats would be filled by landowners, but broken further into three categories of small (<40 acres), medium (40 – 400 acres) and large (>400 acres) landowners. These members would be elected by an acreage vote, similar to traditional water districts.Creation of the water district is subject to a formation vote by landowners and funding approval under Proposition 218. The water district application was reviewed by the Local Agency Formation Commission in order to establish boundaries and powers, and the landowner formation vote and Proposition 218 funding vote are scheduled for March 2016. At the time of the conference we will know the results of the elections, and will be able to discuss next steps based on those outcomes.

Dobbin, Kristin

Presentation Title
From Integrated Regional Water Management to the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act: Lessons on institutionalizing participation to achieve the Human Right to Water in California
Institution
Community Water Center
Presentation
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Abstract
In 2014, more than one million Californians were served water that did not meet safe drinking water standards, violating their right to clean, safe and affordable drinking water recognized in the state since 2012. In the eighth largest economy in the world, small, rural, low-income, communities of color have been systematically excluded from the services most in the state take for granted. Despite increased investment in, and technical assistance for, these communities, California’s drinking water crisis has only intensified in the face of record drought and ongoing groundwater contamination. Consequently, it has become increasingly clear that realizing the human right to water in California, beyond investment, also requires long-term, proactive regional planning that addresses small community needs, both in terms of the quantity and quality of their water supply.Tracing the State’s Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM) program, it is clear that the last five years have been characterized by a growing state rhetoric of participation and integration. Policy makers, advocates and bureaucrats alike have seen the engagement of rural communities in regional and state planning as integral in addressing systemic injustices. The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) of 2014 embraces this approach like never before. This hallmark legislation includes explicit mandates to not only to “consider all beneficial uses and users of groundwater”, including disadvantaged communities, but also to “encourage the active involvement of diverse social, cultural and economic elements of the population”. And because sustainable groundwater management necessitates effective long-term management of a common-pool resource, research indicates that the local results of this law will be highly dependent on how successful they are at accomplishing exactly these mandates. Unfortunately, democratizing water management has proven significantly more difficult in practice. Like with Integrated Regional Water Management, getting communities to the table, let alone meaningfully engaging with the process, is much harder said than done. Much as with IRWM, geographic isolation, language and cultural barriers, limited resources and power inequities have limited the ability of many rural communities to participate in the first year of implementation of the new law. Unlike IRWM, however, SGMA is a regulatory process that not only represents a potential benefit to Disadvantaged Communities, but also represents potential challenges if ongoing barriers cannot be addressed. Drawing from lessons learned from case studies on the first year of SGMA implementation and ongoing IRWM, I identify challenges and lessons learned as to what, realistically, furthering the human right to water through SGMA entails.

Eppinger, Silvan

Presentation Title
Evolution of groundwater law in Arizona and Jordan – legal dimension of the groundwater revolution and implications for the groundwater crisis of the 21st century
Institution
Universität Heidelberg
Presentation
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Abstract
The year 1904 marks the beginning of modern groundwater law in Arizona. Howard v. Perrin was the first decision of the Supreme Court of what was the Territory of Arizona at the time in a conflict over the use of groundwater: Perrin used two wells on a piece of land that Howard claimed for himself.About 100 years later – in 1999 – the Jordan Paper and Cardboard Factories sued the Water Authority of Jordan at the Court of Cassation, the highest appellate court of the country. The Water Authority charged fees for the withdrawal from the wells the company used on its premises, but the company refused to pay.The two examples mark instances in the development of groundwater law in Arizona and Jordan. Within the 100 years between the decisions of two high courts the judges in both countries took a number of further decisions. They revoked earlier rulings and modified the legal concepts. In the second half of the 20th century laws and regulations were promulgated and replaced the court decisions as the main source of groundwater law.This paper takes the legal development in Arizona and Jordan as case studies for the evolution of groundwater law in arid regions. The paper aims at identifying the contribution of legal concepts to what has been termed the “groundwater revolution” of the 20th and their capability as a policing instrument in the groundwater crisis of the 21st century.The paper takes its starting point in a common denominator of groundwater use in Arizona and Jordan: Judges, lawmakers and water administrators in both countries have been confronted with aridity and scarcity of water resources from early on. This played out in specific conflicts between groundwater users. When groundwater use was still mainly an agricultural phenomenon farmers fought over neighboring wells. The conflicts escalated to a higher level when urban water companies started to reach out into rural areas to supply their customers from resources that had thitherto been tapped by agricultural users. The paper discusses how legal concepts have evolved under the conditions of aridity and scarcity. The major challenges to sustainable groundwater use – dwindling supplies and the redistribution of groundwater use from agriculture to urban and other uses – are closely reflected in the legal systems in both Arizona and Jordan.There are significant differences in how the legal systems have actually been effective with regard to distribution of groundwater. This is where the second level of comparison comes in: The political and social framework in Arizona and Jordan could not be more different. Arizona has managed to reverse the previously disastrous overexploitation of its resources through the complex and long-term regulative framework of the Groundwater Management Act of 1980. The political economy of groundwater use in Jordan is equally challenging. Confidence in the legal system as a factor of change is far less developed however. The paper takes Jordan as an example of legal regulation of groundwater use under autocratic rule and rentier state conditions – political conditions which are reality in many of the most drought-struck regions around the globe.

Garner, Eric

Presentation Title
Managing Groundwater In a Time of Increasing Demand and Changing Climate
Institution
Best Best & Krieger LLP
Presentation
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garner1
Abstract
A changing climate, population growth and other factors are placing greater demands on water resources, particularly groundwater and straining the institutions and laws that govern it. California has faced these challenges for more than half a century, and while California has had some notable and well-publicized groundwater management problems, some groundwater management efforts in Southern California have been very successful. Indeed they have been so successful that some experts have cited them as examples of some of the best managed common pool resources in the world. This presentation will explore the local, self-governing management structures that have functioned within California’s extremely complex water rights system that are responsible for this water management success. The presentation will discuss the key elements that have made these management structures successful and why, ultimately, most successful, if not all, groundwater management must be local. In California these management structures have largely been implemented through adjudications. This presentation will explore several adjudications, specifically those in the Raymond, Los Angeles, Santa Maria and Antelope Valley basins. It will discuss how water rights and priorities factored in to the physical solutions and the role of the Constitutional doctrine of reasonable use in reaching an allocation of water. It will also briefly discuss the impact of the recently adopted Sustainable Groundwater Management Act on physical solutions and future adjudications. Importantly, the water law concept of reasonable utilization, which is conceptually similar to California’s reasonable use doctrine, is present in water law regimes throughout the world. Although many countries lack the strong rule of law present in California, I will discuss how these structures may possibly be employed effectively around the world and specifically how their adaptive management aspects are essential to adapting water law regimes to climate change. The presentation will cite some specific examples at the international level, from Central and South America and Africa, where the elements that have led to successful physical solutions and groundwater management in California are present.

Hunecke, Claudia

Presentation Title
Towards understanding the role of Social Capital within Adoption Decision Processes: An application to adoption of irrigation technology
Institution
Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development, University of Göttingen
Presentation
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Abstract
Recently, social capital has gained in importance in explaining technology adoption decisions by farmers. In this paper, we examined the impact of social capital on irrigation technology and scheduling adoption among wine producers in Central Chile. Within this context, we defined seven different components of social capital: general trust, trust in institutions, trust in water communities, norms, formal networks, informal networks, and size of networks. Using a partial least square model, we estimated the impact of these seven factors along with indicators of physical and human capital. As expected, physical and human capital have a positive and significant relationship with adoption, and regarding social capital variables the most relevant were formal networks and the size of network. Importantly, the model results also allowed for determining the impact of human capital and trust as key variables for the building of networks. Thus, human capital and general trust have also an indirect impact on the decision to adopt. It can be argued that in social capital the main catalyst are networks, which in turn are fed by, trust and human capital, hence extension efforts should consider social networks in promoting agricultural innovations, and not just economic or individual level predictors.

Megdal, Sharon

Presentation Title
Framing the Issues Associated with Groundwater Governance and Agriculture in the United States
Institution
University of Arizona Water Resources Research Center
Presentation
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Abstract
Groundwater use in the United States is governed by a mosaic of state approaches, which may differ by water use sector and regions within a state. The presentation will first consider the question: What is sustainable groundwater in agriculture? It will then address key issues associated with groundwater governance, drawing upon analysis and initial national survey work on the variation in approaches for address groundwater quantity and quality across the United States. Using Arizona as a location within the Colorado River Basin, the presentation will address opportunities and obstacles to developing pathways to sustainable water use, communities, and agriculture. In the context of groundwater regulations and/or lack thereof, the presentation will examine key factors determining groundwater availability and use. These factors include drought, differential priorities to surface water supplies, aquifer recharge and water banking programs, use of reclaimed water by agriculture, and municipal and industrial development (including solar fields). State and regional governance and policies related to agricultural water demand and conservation will be discussed. In the context of Arizona’s groundwater regulations and Colorado River water supply conditions, programs of the Central Arizona Project provide interesting examples of the complex interrelationships of surface water supplies and groundwater use by the agricultural and municipal sectors. Though the policy elements to addressing projected gaps in water supply and demand are similar regionally, nationally, and even internationally, actual solution pathways will depend on local and regional governance frameworks and other circumstances. The presentation will conclude by highlighting the importance of robust stakeholder engagement and input in developing these pathways.

Overhouse, Ashley

Presentation Title
Mexico’s emerging illegal groundwater market: The product of corruption and neoliberal regulations
Institution
University of California, Hastings College of the Law
Presentation
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Abstract
Mexico has limited freshwater resources, heavily relying on an extensive network of groundwater aquifers. In fact, groundwater resources have been the state’s buffer in the face of increasing urbanisation and explosion of the agricultural sector. Over the course of forty years, Mexico has instituted increasingly neoliberal water policies, resulting in over-drafted groundwater reserves and social differentiation. Dr. Nadine Reis has conducted extensive research in the arid Valley of Toluca, concluding that there is a complex hydrological nexus of government actors, private developers and the agricultural sector. This nexus revolves around the regulation limiting public access to groundwater, which in turn has led to the illegal transfers of water rights from small farmers to private developers with minimal legal consequences.In light of Dr. Reis’ case study, this paper proposes that Mexico’s regulations and lack of enforcement will create a state-wide market of illegal transfers of groundwater rights. Without complete water management reform, Mexico will institutionalize groundwater exploitation, and in turn, encapsulate the unsustainable neoliberal approach to groundwater management by generating a state-wide water crisis.

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