Title: Legal Aspects of Conjunctive Use
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/WL00003040/00001
 Material Information
Title: Legal Aspects of Conjunctive Use
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Publisher: American Society of Civil Engineers
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida
Abstract: Richard Hamann's Collection - Legal Aspects of Conjunctive Use
General Note: Box 12, Folder 6 ( Legal, Institutional and Social Aspects of Irrigation and Drainage and Water Resources Planning and Management - 1979 ), Item 6
Funding: Digitized by the Legal Technology Institute in the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.
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Bibliographic ID: WL00003040
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Levin College of Law, University of Florida
Holding Location: Levin College of Law, University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

Full Text

Ralph R. Marlette*, F. ASCE and Craig L. Williams**

In 1969, the Nebraska Legislature adopted a bill which eventually
resulted in the consolidation of over one-hundred fifty resource related
special purpose districts into twenty-four milti-purpose Natural Re.-
sources Districts with boundaries encompassing the entire state. Though
the initial legislation was adopted nearly ten years ago, the districts
are just now beginning to evolve into true resources districts, expand-
ing their concern and programs beyond a few specific and traditional
problems into the whole gamut of resour e related issues.
As is true of many states, Nebrask had become a checkerboard of in-
dependent special purpose political sub divisions and organizations. The
first irrigation district was created i 1895, and by 1967, state lawal-
lowed for creation of twelve other kind of resource related organiza-
tions. These included drainage districts, soil conservation districts,
watershed districts, rural water districts, reclamation districts, mos-
quito abatement districts, sanitary improvement districts, and others.
Altogether by 1967, over five-hundre separate districts of various
types had been organized within the state.
At the same time the state legislature was increasing the kinds of
districts it was possible to create, i was also expanding the scope of
permissible activities each of the various types of districts were per-
mitted to engage in. The results of t is piecemeal expansion of both
district type and district powers were overlapping political and auth-
ority boundaries, duplication of activ ties, and substantial political
in-fighting. Some form of reorganizat on or restructuring was clearly
called for if growing state resource prob ems were to be dealt with adequate-
ly and efficiently; and it was through c-eation of the state-wide systemof
natural resources districts (NRD's) that he reorganization was attempted [l]
The NRD legislation,[2] which pro ided for the districts to begin
operations on January 1, 1972 (later ended to July 1, 1972), called for
the state Soil and Water Conservation commission (now the Nebraska Nat-
ural Resources Commission) to determine the exact number of districts
and set their boundaries. The statute provided the following guidelines
for the Commission:
(1) The primary objective s all be to establish
boundaries which provided e fective coordination,
planning, development and g neral management of
areas whieh have related re sources problems.
Such areas shall be determi ed according to the

*.Prof., Dept. of Civil Engrg., U iv. of Nebraska,Lincoln,Nebraska.
** Asst. Prof., College of Law, Uniy. of Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska.
1. H. Jenkins, A History of Nebraska's Natural Resources Districts
R. Hyer, ed. (1975). Unpublished paper prepared for the Nebraska Assoc-
iation of Resources Districts. i
2. Provisions dealing with the natural resources districts are
found generally at Neb. Rev. Stat. 3 -3201 et seq. (Reissue 1977).


hydrologic patterns. The recognized river basins
of the state shall be utilized in determining
and establishing the boundaries for districts
and where necessary for more efficient develop-
ment and general management two or more dis-
tricts shall be created within 4 basin;
(2) Boundaries of districts shall follow approxi-
mate hydrologic patterns except where doing so
would divide a section, a city or village, or
produce similar incongruities which might hinder
the effective operation of the districts;
(3) Existing boundaries of political subdivisions
or voting precincts may be followed wherever
feasible. Districts shall be of sufficient size
to provide adequate finances and administration
for plans of improvements; and
(4) The number of districts shall be not less
than sixteen nor more than twenty-eight. [3]
After dozens of meetings and hearings and a wide variety of recommenda-
tions, the Legislature in 1972, established the existing twenty-four
Natural Resources Districts (Fig. 1).
The NRD statute, as amended, has resulted in the merger of more
than one-hundred fifty special purpose districts into the twenty-four
NRD's. A number of special purpose districts were required by statute
to merge into the NRD's with the NRD's taking over all of their powers
and responsibilities. Those districts required to merge included soil
and water conservation districts, watershed conservancy districts,
watershed districts, advisory watershed improvement boards, and water-
shed planning boards. [4]
Not all resource related special purpose districts,however, were
included in the mandatory merger.5] Because of fears that inclusion of
certain types of districts might place undue burdens on the NRD's by
requiring them to assume large financial a d contractual obligations
or by possibly binding them to pending cou t judgments, and because of
substantial political pressure against mer er from some of the leaders
of the special districts, some special districts were exempted from
forced merger. Three of the exempt districts, rural water districts,
groundwater conservation districts, and drainage districts, though not
required to merge were encouraged to cooperate with the NRD's and were
given the option to merge if they wished. In addition, the NRD's were
given authority to carry out the functions of these three types of dis-
tricts and no new districts of these types could be organized in the
state after the commencement of NRD operation. Two other types of
special districts, reclamation districts and irrigation districts, were
also given the authority to merge with the NRD's, but they ate also
permitted to continue to organize as independent districts.

3. Neb. Rev. Stat. 2-3203 (Reissue 1977).
4. Id. S 2-7nT.
5. Id.



l :'L





The areas of authority and powers of the NRD's are in large measure
an amalgamation of those of the former special purpose districts. The
NRD's do,however, have several powers which no special purpose district
has ever had. The general areas of authority given to the NRD's in-
1) Erosion prevention and control.
2) Prevention of damages from flood water and sediment.
3) Flood prevention and control.
4) Soil Conservation.
5) Water supply for any beneficial use.
6) Development, management, utilization and conservation of
groundwater and surface water.
7) Pollution control.
8) Solid waste disposal and sanitary drainage.
9) Drainage improvement and channel rectification.
10) Development and management of fish and wildlife habitat.
11) Development and management of recreational and park facilities.
12) Foresty and range management.[6]
In order to act in these areas the NRD's have been given the fol-
lowing powers (some restricted to specific circumstances):
1) To acquire property by eminent domain.[7]
2) To promulgate and enforce land use regulations.[8]
3) To promulgate and enforce groundwater regulations.[9]
4) To make studies, surveys and investigations.[10]
5) To conduct demonstration projects.[11]
6) To store, transport and supply water to users in the dis-
7) To acquire and dispose of water rights.[13]
8) To furnish financial aid.[14]
9) To construct facilities.[15]
10) To levy a tax not to exceed one mill.[16]
When the NRD's first began operation in 1972, the membership of
each district's board of directors, with the exception of the district
which included Omaha, included all directors and supervisors of each
special purpose district which had merged with the NRD and representa-
tives from each municipality within a district. The number of muni-
cipal representatives was based on population according to a formula
set by statute. Municipal representatives were mayoral appointees
appointed with approval of the city council. Some of the original boards
were quite large; and, for ease of operation, the statute permitted

6. Id. 2-3229.
7. Id. 2-3234.
8. Id. 2-3244 to 2-3250.
9. I. 46-656 et seq. (Cum Supp. 1976).
10. d. 2-3232 (Reissue 1977).
11. Id.
12 Id. 2-3238.
13. Id. 2-3233.
14. Id. 2-3235.
15. Id. 2-3242.
16. Id. 2-3225.


each NRD to, establish an executive committee not to exceed twenty-
one members.[17]
Beginning on January 9, 1975, the NRD boards of directors were to
be made up of elected members. The first election took place in Novem-
ber 1974, with members elected for staggered four-year terms.
The voting for directors is unique. One director is elected at
large, and the rest are elected by subdistrict, two directors from each.
Though nominated and elected by subdistrict, directors are voted on
throughout the NRD.[18] This means that in order to be elected it is
not necessary to receive the highest number of votes within the sub-
district whtei a director represents. The statute permits the size of
the boards of directors to vary any odd number between five and
twenty-one. Eighteen districts have chosen to have fewer than the
maximum, but no district has fewer than nine directors.
It is quite easy to run for a position as a director. One needs
only file a petition signed by twenty-five electors residing in the
appropriate subdistrict. There is no filing fee, primary election, or
runoff. The election is held in the fall at the same time as the state
general election, and the top vote-getter in the subdistrict is elected
Directors run on a nonpartisan ballot.[19] Recently there has been a
move toward offering slates of candidates. So far the trend has in-
volved primarily "environmental" candidates within an NRD who join to-
gether for publicity and common advertising. In a general election
year with large numbers of candidates running for a wide variety of
offices, the joining together of like-minded NRD candidates is intended
to reduce individual campaign costs and increase voter identification
of issues and candidates. The existence of a slate may also help focus
more attention on the NRD race than might otherwise be the case.
The NRD's have survived two major court challenges. The first,
filed in 1972, raised the issue of the constitutional validity of the
entire NRD law. Opponents charged that the law reorganizing resource
related districts violated the Nebraska Constitution by constituting
an illegal combination and mixture of legislative, executive, and judi-
cial powers; by abusing the citizens' voting franchise; by taking pri-
vate property withoutdueprocess and just compensation; and by its gen-
eral indefinite, ambiguous, and incomprehensible nature. In 1974, the
issue was settled when the state Supreme Court affirmed a lower court
finding that, except for a provision dealing with exofficio members
of the Natural Resources Commission, the NRD law was constitutional.[20]
The second case involving a fundamental NRD question was filed in
1975 by the League of Women Voters, and challenged the subdistricting
approach followed by an NRD. The suit alleged that the subdistrict
procedure adopted by the Lower Platte South NRD violated the one man

17. Id. 2-3213.
18. Id. 2-3214.
19. Id.
20. Neeman v. Nebraska Natural Resources Commission, 191 Neb.
672, 217 N.W.2d 166 (1972).


one vote principle because more board members were selected from rural
areas than was justified by the population and tax base of the NRD.
Specifically, the League objected to the fact that only five of the
Lower Platte South's ten subdistricts take in the city of Lincoln and
its immediate surroundings. The other five subdistricts are designated
rural and take in the remainder of the district. This fifty-fifty split
in subdistricts exists despite the fact that Lincoln and its surround-
ings have more than 80% of the population and tax base of the NRD. The
League lost its suit in county district court in January 1978, and did
not file an appeal. In lieu of an appeal, members of the League indic-
ate they will seek an amendment to the statutory language which current-
ly allows factors other than population and tax base to be considered
when establishing dubdistrict boundaries.[21]
Although the NRD's have been given a broad range of program re-
sponsibilities, not every district is equally committed to every pro-
gram. Some of the variety in program activity between districts is due
to local philosophical and political differences. Much of the variety,
however, is due to the substantial financial disparity which exists be-
tween the districts.
Since becoming operational in 1972, conservation of soiland water
resources have been the top priority objectives of most NRD's. These
priorities are natural ones for districts which evolved from county
soil conservation districts, but they also reflect wide-spread concern
in Nebraska for protection of these key natural resources. Many of the
NRD's soil and water conservation activities are carried out in coopera-
tion with the U.S. Soil Conservation Service and compliment its water-
shed and land treatment programs.
In districts with greater financial resources, much of their
money has gone for flood control planning and construction. Another
major and growing activity is the development of regional water sup-
plies through creation of rural water districts. These districts pro-
vide domestic water supply for farm homes and villages. Two other areas
of increasing NRD activity are groundwater management and habitat
development. There is also continuing pressure for NRD's to develop
additional recreational facilities.
To finance their activities, state law gives NRD's the authority
to levy an ad valorum property tax of up to one mill,[22] and it allows
for the establishment of improvement project areas within which special
assessments may be levied.[23] In addition, districts may borrow mon-
ey[24] and issue revenue bonds.[25] The 1975 Ground Water Management
Act allows NRD's to levy an additional one-quarter mill within design-
ated ground water control areas[26] for purposes related to ground water

21. Neb. Rev. Stat. 2-3214 (Reissue 1977).
22. Id. 2-3225.
23. Id. 2-3252 to 2-3255.
24. Id. 2-3228(5).
25. Id. 2-3226.
26. Id. 46-673 (Cum. Supp. 1976).


Relying primarily on property tax levies as the principal source
of revenue has produced a large disparity in the funds available to the
various districts. Table 1 illustrates the wide variation in assessed
valuation between the districts. The maximum one mill levy limits half
the NRD's to annual incomes of less than $200,000. Obviously, after
complying with statutory requirements for elections, meetings, planning,
and maintaining an office, there are few funds remaining in some dis-
tricts for carrying out the substantial list of ennumerated resource
The disparity in funds available to districts can be further illu-
strated by comparing district budgets. The comparisons provide only a
rough gauge however, since budgets do not always reflect expenditures.
Actual expenditures for a number of NRD's have been about one-half of
budgeted expenditures. This is due primarily to project abandonment and
delay. Also, districts often budget for projects in anticipation of
receiving outside funds which sometimes do not become available. The
1978 budgets for the NRD's range from $154,000 for the Upper Loup -
with an area of 13,500 sq. km. and population of 6,400, to $3,594,000
for the Papio with an area of only 2,600 sq. km., but with a popula-
tion of nearly one-half million. Although the Papio NRD has by far the
largest budget (the next closest budget is almost one million dollars
less), it has the secondlowest mill rate at .48. At the same time, a
number of districts are taxing at the maximum rate allowed yet raising
much less money.
One attempt to deal with the obvious funding disparities between
districts was the creation in 1975 of a state Resources Development
Fund.[27] The fund, which has had one million dollars appropriated
to it annually by the state legislature, is administered by theNebraska
Natural Resources Commission. The fund may be used to provide up to
75% of the cost for local NRD projects. Even with this cost share
however, a substantial expenditure may be required of the district. As
projects become larger and more expensive, even 25% of a project's
cost may be a significant burden to an NRD. And, the one million dollar
annual appropriation will not finance a great deal.
A recent report by the Nebraska Association of Resources Dist-
ricts[28] has called for development of a wide variety of new funding
mechanisms to deal both with increasing costs and with increasing de-
mands for NRD services. Some of the suggested mechanisms include an
increased mill levy, tax increment bond financing for water resources
projects, user fees, increased state cost sharing from the Resources
Development Fund, and increased state appropriations to the Develop-
ment Fund.
Another area of some difficulty for the NRD's has been planning.
Until 1978, each NRD was required to prepare a "comprehensive long-
range six-year plan for its operations and a one-year certain plan."[29]

27. Neb. Rev. Stat. 2-3264 to 2-3266 (Reissue 1977).
28. Special Funding Task Force of the Nebraska Association of
Resources Districts, A Report on Funding Alternatives for Resources
Projects in Natural Resources Districts (1978).
29. Neb. Rev. Stat. 2-3252.01 (Reissue 1977) (Repealed).


Table 1

Basin/NRD Populationa Area, sq km Assessed Valuationb
(million dollars)
Blue Basin:
Upper Big Blue 54,000 7,500 444
Lower Big Blue 41,000 4,100 217
Little Blue 56,000 6,200 296
Elkhorn Basin:
Upper Elkhorn 23,000 8,000 135
Lower Elkhorn 91,000 10,600 524
Loup Basin:
Upper Loup 6,400 13,500 88
Lower Loup 74,000 20,500 441
Missouri Tribs Basin:
Lewis & Clark 21,000 3,900 98
Middle Mo. Tribs 22,000 2,100 95
Papio 469,000 2,600 1,788

Nemaha Basin:
Nemaha 49,000 6,200 285

Niobrara Basin:
Upper Nio.-White 28,000 16,800 153
Middle Niobrara 9,700 11,900 80
Lower Niobrara 9,700 7,000 70

Platte Basin:
North Platte 47,000 11,900 255
South Platte 19,500 6,700 119
Twin Platte 38,000 10,900 202
Central Platte 103,000 8,300 599
Lower Platte North 58,000 4,100 387
Lower Platte South 190,000 4,100 800

Republican Basin:
Upper Republican 10,500 7,000 106
Middle Republican 23,000 9,800 153
Lower Republican 23,000 6,500 130

Tri-Basin 18,400 3,900 175

a 1970 Census
b 1978 Data


The long range plan was to be updated annually with a new one-year cer-
tain plan. NRD plans were to conform to the State water plan of the
Natural Resources Commission. In addition, plans and programs relating
to the development and management of fish and wildlife habitat and re-
creational and park facilities were to conform to the outdoor recreation
plan and the fish and wildlife plan for Nebraska developed by the state
Game and Parks Commission.
In 1978, at the urging of the Nebraska Association of Resources
Districts, the Legislature substantially modified the planning require-
ments for NRD's.[30] The new provisions removed regional and state
planning authority approval for NRD plans and altered the plan review
processes of the Game and Parks Commission, Natural Resources Commis-
sion, and all other reviewing agencies. NRD's may now treat the failure
of a reviewing agency to respond within thirty days following submission
of a plan as approval of the plan by the agency.
The new act also abolished the old one and six-year plan require-
ments and replaced them with more traditional planning devices. Each
NRD is now required to prepare and adopt a master plan containing at a
minimum a statement of goals and objectives for each statutory purpose
enumerated for the NRD's. The master plan must be updated at least
every ten years. Each district is also to prepare and adopt a long
range implementation plan and individual project plans. The implementa-
tion plan, to be updated annually, is to summarize planned district
activities and include projections of financial, manpower, and land
rights needs for at least five years, as well as indicate the specific
needs assessment upon which the district's current budget is based.
Project plans are to be prepared at the discretion of the NRD or when-
ever requested by the Natural Resources Commission, Game and Parks
Commission, or State Office of Planning and Programming. District plans
must continue to conform to the state water plan, the state outdoor
recreation plan, and the state fish and wildlife plan.
Nebraska has long enjoyed tremendous reservoirs of ground water.
Until the mid-1950s, there was little concern for and no regulations of the
use of this resource. Even through the 1960s, regulations were limited
to required registration of wells and minimum spacing of 600 feet be-
tween wells. Such insubstantial requirements proved practically no
restriction on the development of well irrigation in the state; and,
after the addition of some 40,000 wells and several million acres of
additional irrigated crop land since the 1950s, areas of declining
water levels have occurred.[31]
The 1969 NRD legislation specified that one of the purposes of the
NRD's was "development, management, utilization and conservation of
ground water." Whenever an NRD board determined that regulations were
necessary "to ensure the proper conservation of ground water within the
district", it was to confer with state agencies and ground water users
within the district. A public hearing was to be held followed by a re-
ferendum on proposed regulations. This provision of the statute was

30. Legislature of Nebraska, 85th Leg., 2nd Sess., L.B. 783
(adopted 1978).
31. Harnsberggr et.al., "Groundwater From Windmills to Compre-
hensive Management, 2 Neb. L. Rev. 179 1973).


never used. The need for regulation was not widely accepted and there
was real concern regarding the legality of the statutes'provision re-
quiring a vote on any regulations by eligible voters who were defined as
"existing ground water well owners within the district."
With increased public awareness of declining water levels and the
increased investment in ground water irrigation systems, the legislature
enacted the Ground Water Management Act (L.B.577) in 1975. Section 46-
656 of this Act states:
The legislature finds, recognizes and declares that manage-
ment and conservation of ground water and the beneficial use
thereof are essential to the economic prosperity and future
well-being of the state and that in geographic areas where
ground water may be declining or where shortages of ground
water may occur, the public interest demands the implementa-
tion of management practices to conserve ground water sup-
plies and prevent inefficient or improper use thereof. To
provide for an orderly management system, particularly in
areas where changing ground water conditions require the
designation of control areas with special regulation of
future development, and use, the legislature recognizes
the need for this act.
Under provisions of the Act, a local NRD, after recognizing aground
water problem within its district, must petition the State Department
of Water Resources (DWR) to establish a control area. Section 46-658 re-
quires that prior to designating a ground water control area the Director
of the DWR must find ". .that there is an inadequate ground water sup-
ply to meet present or reasonably foreseeable needs. ." The Act lists
three items for the Director to consider when determining adequacy of
ground water supply. They are: (1)conflicts between users which are
occurring or may be anticipated, (2)economic hardships which exist or are
foreseeable because of current or anticipated ground water decline, and
(3)other conditions existing which indicate the inadequacy of the ground
water supply or require the area to be designated a control area for pro-
tection of the public welfare. The first and most important step in
these actions must be initiated by the local NRD Board.
After the Director has approved and designated a control area, the
NRD must adopt, with the approval of the Director, specific regulations
to conserve and manage ground water supplies. The regulations may vary
within the control area. Possible controls listed in the statute are (1)
allocation of withdrawals, (2)rotation of use, (3)well-spacing more re-
strictive than state-wide regulations, (4)a one-year moratorium on new
wells, and (5)such other reasonable regulations as are necessary to car-
ry out the intent of the Act.
Two ground water control areas have been designated and the appli-
cation for a third is pending and will probably be approved during 1978.
Thus three of the state's five generally recognized areas of significant
ground water decline have taken action under the Ground Water Management
Act. One of the remaining areas of serious decline is in Holt County.
This area is awaiting funding of a federally authorized irrigation pro-
ject. If the O'Neill Project, as it is designated by the U,$~ Bureau of
Reclamation, is built, surface water supplies will be channeled into Holt
County. The increase in surface water supply should both reduce ground
water pumping and recharge the now depleting aquifer. The other area of
historic water level decline is in Box Butte County. There, ground water
reserves will probably continue to be mined. Underlying the area is a
huge reserve; several hundred feet of saturated, high-yield formation
containing good quality water. No economic alternative for recharge cur-
rently exists, and local residents are apparently content with a ground
water mining situation.


The first control area was declared on August 1, 1977. The Ground
Water Management Act would seem to be an effective and efficient tool
for local districts that recognize a problem and want to develop regula-
tions to meet the problem. Most requests for a control area have asked
that the entire NRD be designated the control area. The Director of :the
DWR, however, has so far designated smaller areas within the districts
as control areas. More than 90 per cent of the area of the first two
NRD's petitioning for control areas was so designated. However, for
the third and still pending petition, it is likely that less than half
of the total NRD will be designated as a control area since aquifers
suitable for irrigation do not exist under much of the district.
A major portion of the Upper Republican NRD was designated as
Nebraska's first ground water control area. The Director ordered that
all of Perkins and Chase counties and that portion of Dundy County north
of the Republican River be a single control area. Within this area the
rock unit known as the Ogallala formation and all other deposits of more
recent geological age are the aquifers subject to regulation. This NRD
is in extreme southwestern Nebraska and is bounded on the west by Col-
orado and on the South by Kansas. The area adjacent to Kansas,
south of the R.publican River, wa& not made pat of the control ar;e
by the Director. The total control area is 6670 km2 or about 95% of
the total NRD.
In 1965 the three counties had a total of 392 irrigation wells and
were adding about 50 wells per year. By the end of 1976, the total had
climbed to 2179 and new wells were being added at a rate exceeding
200 per year. The rapid rate of development of irrigation in this area,
coupled with severe local ground water declines (See Fig. 2), and the
accelerating cost of irrigation brought home the need for controls to
protect the large, local investment. Center-pivot irrigation systems
serving much of the area cost in excess of $50,000 per 130 acres
(52.6 HA) served. Some of the incentive for local controls may have
developed because of increasing farm ownership by out-of-state farm
Designation of this control area followed the local request for
such designation by the NRD Board. The request was made after a year
of local meetings, discussion and study of the problem. The NRD con-
tributed to the development of a mathematical model of the ground water
aquifers of the area. Work on the model was performed by the U.S. Geo-
logical Survey with input from several state and local agencies. The
results of all projected simulations of the ground water use in the
area showed increasing declines, drying up of several ground water fed
streams, and a real need for controls to minimize projected deficiencies.
Following designation as a control area, additional local hear-
ings were conducted and further studies carried out. Final rules and
regulations were adopted by the NRD in February, 1978, and forwarded
to the state for approval. The Director on March 27, 1978, approved
the rules which are now in effect.
The objective of the rules is to reduce the drop in saturated
thickness to 1% or less per year. One mechanism to accomplish this
reduction in the drop is allocation of water use for the years 1980-84.
All wells with a capacity of 100 gpm (6.3 1/s) or more must be equip-



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ped with flow meters by 1980. An incentive of an extra allotment of
water is given for early installation and use of flow meters.
Twenty-one public land townships within the control area (design-
ated with 'C' in Fig. 3) are declared to be critical townships. This
totals 1680 sq km or about 25% of the control area. Critical townships
are those areas within which the average saturated thickness of the
aquifer has dropped more than one percent during the past three years.
With this criteria as one of the rules, additional townships may be-
come 'critical' in future years.
There is some concern that the 1% drop restriction may cause.future
administrative difficulties and, in fact, may stop irrigation develop-
ment in critical townships. The accuracy of the model predictions in
many areas is about 10%, and while there have been an increasing number
of observation wells in the area, the number is not sufficient in all
areas to delineate aquifer thickness within 1% over an area of town-
ship size (93.2 sq km). It is not yet clear who will have the burden
of proving the accuracy or inaccuracy of the NRD's findings on aquifer
thickness and percentage of water level decline.
Well spacing is another control regulation adopted by the Upper
Republican NRD. Current state law requires a minimum spacing of 600
feet (180m) between irrigation wells. However, within the control area,
all irrigation wells must be spaced at least 1320 feet (400m) from other
irrigation wells and from stock or domestic wells of other ground water
users. Within a critical township new wells may not be drilled within
3300 feet (1000m) of existing irrigation wells. This limitation will
allow few if any new wells in critical townships.
The present regulations require records and reporting during the
interim period until full metering and allocation commence for the 1980
irrigation season. The intent of the NRD Board is to award a five year
allocation of 70 to 85 acre-inches per irrigated acre (1.78 to 2.16m).
Local control is provided to each farm operation since individual ir-
rigators may use varying amounts of their allocation each year to meet
changing crop and climatic requirements.
The NRD's are clearly an improvement over the special purpose dis-
tricts they replaced. Much of the overlap in boundaries and authority
has been removed, projects no longer duplicate one another and less
money is wasted in bureaucratic and political wrangling. In addition,
NRD's bring a wider perspective to resource matters than did the old
special purpose districts which were often organized by relatively few
people and focused on a single, narrow purpose. NRD's are more visible
and their political organization and broad range of responsibilities
are such that they are more balanced in approach. They are much better
suited to evaluate the trade-offs which must constantly be made in
resolving resource allocation issues.
Politically too, the NRD's have proven effective. The twenty-four
districts have formed a voluntary association headed by a full time
executive director. The association has been very successful in its
lobbying with the state legislature and in fostering good cooperative
working relationships between NRD's and with state and federal agencies.
There are still some problems. Although improved over the pre-


0 10 20 30


1969 special purpose district era, the individual NRD's still need to be
more visible to the general public. The districts receive some atten-
tion in the press and are known to those individuals directly effected
by their activities. Generally, however, their undertakings and expend-
itures are not closely monitored. With low political visibility there
is always the chance of "capture" of boards by special interests. Such
capture could result in at least a partial negation of an NRD's role
as a broad-spectrum resource arbiter. On the other hand, staggered term
subdistrict elections and the emergence of slates of candidates tends
to keep boards accountable and less prone to act contrary to the
public interest.
Related to the visibility problem is the issue of district bound-
aries. When the districts were organized, river basin hydrologic lines
were the primary basis for determining boundaries. Little regard was
given to existing county lines. The result is that some counties are
fragmented; with portions of the county included in an NRD which has few
ties to the county. The residents of these fragmented areas are effec-
tively without NRD representation, and some modifications to existing
boundaries are in order. Boundaries should take into account other
ties to a district than merely the hydrologic lines. This is especial-
ly true now that the NRD's are becoming heavily involved in ground
water control. Boundaries based solely on surface water hydrologic
lines often bear little relation to the occurence of ground water.
Another area of concern, although not exactly a problem of the
NRD's, is that some projects extend beyond a single district. The
creation of the NRD's represented a substantial step forward toward
more regional consideration of resource issues. However, some issues
require an even higher level of authority for resolution. For example,
the Little Blue NRD has proposed diverting Platte River water into the
Little Blue basin. Four other NRD's oppose the diversion and are pre-
paring to fight the proposal in court. It would certainly be more ef-
ficient if conflict resolution mechanisms other than law suits could be
developed for resource questions of larger than single NRD impact.
Another criticism of the NRD's by some is that they have remained
too committed to the goals of the pre-1969 special purpose districts
from which they emerged. The current authority of NRD's extends sub-
stantially beyond traditional soil conservation and other agriculture
related functions. Many people would like to see NRD's become more
involved in land use regulation, habitat enhancement, and recreational
development. It seems likely that there will before activity of this
sort in the future, particularly in those districts with substantial
urban populations.
Working against an expanded role for the NRD's, however, is their
current financing capability. As long as a one mill property tax levy
continues as the districts' major financing device, many NRD's will bare-
ly be able to maintain even their more traditional resource functions.
With expanding public reaction against property taxes and calls for
greater state and local financial participation in federal water pro-
jects, it seems likely that NRD's will not be involved in many future
large-scale reclamation and flood control projects.
In the specific area of ground water management, the NRD's through
Nebraska's Ground Water Management Act clearly meet the criteria of the



ASCE in its recent (April 23, 1978) position paper which encourages;
b) continued use of state institutions .
[for] administering water rights .
c) maximum use of local institutions to
establish management techniques covering
aquifer systems.

The NRD's are large enough to be effective political units, yet
small enough to be responsive to local interests. Since the establish-
ment of the first functioning ground water control area has just occur-
red, how well the NRD's will do in dealing with ground water problems
is still unknown. The mechanism however, is there; and, barring
major financing hurtles which could limit regulatory enforcement,
it appears the NRD's are off to a good start.

Don Finlayson* Member, ASCE

As a prelude to discussing what obstacles to consumptive use
exist in the San Francisco Bay Area, it is necessary to first describe
the institutional setting, water supply and demand relationships, and
operation of the water agencies.

The San Francisco Bay Region is usually considered to include
most if not all of the nine counties that immediately surround the Bay
(see Figure 1). By adding the upper portion of the Russian River
watershed, the boundary will include all of both ground water and local
surface water sources.

Water Supply

The 1975 sources of water supply are shown on Table 1. From
this it is apparent that the San Francisco Bay Region is a water
deficient region and receives a portion of its supply by import. For
this reason, consideration of conjunctive use in the Bay Region must
also consider the Great Central Valley and the Sierra Nevada Range to
the east. This is best demonstrated by reviewing the major water
transport facilities (Figure 2), existing and under contract. By agency
(Figure 3) they are:

1. Sonoma County Water Agency: Lake Mendocino, Lake Sonoma (under
construction) and aqueducts from the Russian River. The aqueducts
divert both natural flow and project water. Russian River water
also serves Mendocino County to the north and Marin County to the

2. East Bay Municipal Utility District: Reservoirs in the
Sierra Nevada Range, a right to Federal Central Valley Project
(CVP) water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, aqueduct from
the Sierra Nevada to the service area, reservoirs within and adja-
cent to the service area. The District must also provide releases
to satisfy water rights of others in the Sierra foothills and the
San Joaquin Valley.

3. City of San Francisco Hetch Hetchy System: Reservoirs in the
Sierra Nevada Range, aqueducts from the Sierra Nevada to the ser-
vice area, and reservoirs within the service area. The City must
also service Sierra and San Joaquin water rights. Serves San
Mateo, Alameda and Santa Clara by contract.

*Chief Investigations Branch, Central District, California Department
of Water Resources


SC 0 L U S A

A Y 0 L 0




Sources of Water Supply

: Thousands of : Cubic
: Acre-Feet : Hectometres
Russian River Service Area a/
Russian River Surface Water 91.2 112.5
Ground Water 62.0 76.5
Local Surface Water 29.9 36.9
Subtotal 183.1 225.9

Central and South Bay b/
Contra Costa, Alameda, Santa
Clara, San Mateo, San Francisco
Hetch Hetchy Aqueduct Import 336 414
South Bay Aqueduct Import 124 153
Mokelumne Aqueduct Import 336 414
Contra Costa Canal Import 86 106
Direct Diversion from Delta 163 201
Local Surface Water 56 69
Local Ground Water 297 366
Subtotal 1,398 1 723

North East Bay /
Solano, Napa

Putah South Canal Import 210.9 260
North Bay Aqueduct Import 6.8 8
Solano Local Surface Water 145.0 179
Napa Local Surface Water 18.0 22
Subtotal 380.7 469
TOTAL 1.961.8 2 417.9
a/ See Figure 1. Includes Sonoma and Marin Counties and portion of
Mendocino County. Total use and split between Russian River surface
water is estimated based on land use and population data.
b/ See Figure 1. Includes Contra Costa, Alameda, Santa Clara, San Mateo,
and San Francisco Counties. Use of local surface and local ground
water is estimated.
c/ See Figure 1. Includes Solano and Napa Counties. Local surface
water amounts are estimated.

1 /


Figure 2

Water Transport Facilities


Figure 3







;D/A' I-----------



Water Service Areas



4. Santa Clara Valley Water District: Reservoirs within the service
area, contract for delivery of California State Water Project (SWP)
to the service area, and contract for CVP water delivery by the
proposed San Felipe Division of the CVP.

5. Contra Costa County Water District: Contract for delivery of CVP
water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to the service area.

In addition, several other service areas receive water from
the State Water Project and the Central Valley Project.

The locations of the major ground water basins within the
region are shown on two maps. The first (Figure 4) are in the Russian
River Watershed. The major basin here is the Santa Rosa Plain with a
large amount of storage but with recharge very limited due to faults and
surface soils.

The second (Figure 5) are those around the Bay. Those to the
north have impaired yields due to saline water intrusion and other
water quality problems. The most productive and most developed are
those east and south of the Bay.

Within the San Francisco Bay Area (including the Russian
River Basin) there are some 41 ground water basins, subbasins, and
areas of ground water storage that have been identified. Within the
major 19 of these basins, there is an estimated 28.3 million acre-feet
of ground water in storage. The usable storage capacity in 15 of these
basins has been estimated to be only 1.6 million acre-feet.

In 1972, ground water within this region was estimated to
supply about 24 percent of the area's annual water demand and this
was projected to drop to about 20 percent by the year 2000.

Water Demand

Figure 6 shows the latest projections of water demand for
the South and Central Bay Area. The upper line is without significant
water conservation. The lower line is with a maximum water conserva-
tion program. Regardless of where reality may lie in between those
lines, the increase in demand will be a small percentage of current
demand. What is much more significant is that water agencies during
the 1975-76 and 1976-77 drought had to take 25 to 30 percent deficien-
cies. Also significant, is that water supply estimates made to 1975
were larger than those current water demand estimates. Also shown on
Figure 6 are projections of future water demands for the Russian
River Service Area.

As shown on Figure 3, there is an overlap of some of the
water service areas. In the past, each of these agencies has pro-
vided for its own future water supply. It should be obvious in an
era of -imited natural and financial resources that the opportunities
for conjunctive operation on a regional scale also offers an opportun-
ity for conservation of these resources. The fact that most of the
agencies take some water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta or its


Figure 4

Ground Water Basins Russian River Area


Figure 5

Ground Water Basins San Francisco Bay


s ofRD atou N ER E

no e WAT[ r U ALIT i eO ..-.)

j CI O WATEl a*l- i; H.'

A CL 0 S 10


Figure 6













1975 1980




North Bay (Solano and Napa Counties) ..-x

- ---
-~ -

0-- m to conservation
with water conservation
o-- --- ----------0

South and Central Bay

Caution: Not comparable with water supply in
Table 1 because 1976-77 drought
indicated water supplies may be
about 25 percent less than 1975

Russian River Area
Russian River Area


tributaries also provides a basis for pooling and reallocation of
supplies. It must be noted, however, that while they may have a common
source in a regional sense, the particular point of diversion in the
Delta or in the Sierra has a significant effect on water quality.

Water District Operation

Now we will get down to how the water agencies operate in
the region. There is considerable difference in problems and as
examples for this discussion, I will use the South Bay ground water
basin within Santa Clara County as an example of a ground water basin
in a highly urbanized area and an area where surface water resources
are highly developed. The Santa Rosa Plain ground water basin in
Sonoma County will be used as an example of a ground water basin in an
area where the surface water resources have not been completely devel-
oped and the urbanization process is still far from complete.

Santa Clara County

In the South Bay ground water basin in Santa Clara County,
an important agricultural economy developed between 1870 and 1930.
The draft on the ground water basin caused water levels to decline
140 feet in a valley that once had over 2,000 flowing artesian wells.
From 1950 to 1965 a large scale urban growth occurred further deplet-
ing ground water in storage and causing subsidence of the lands
adjacent to San Francisco Bay. Up to 1950, all of the area's water
requirements were met by ground water. Immediately after 1950, the
area constructed eight reservoirs which were used to restore winter
runoff until it could be released for recharge to the ground water

In 1952, the Hetch Hetchy Aqueduct of the City of San
Francisco began to deliver Sierra Nevada water to a part of Santa
Clara County. Since that time, the volume of Hetch Hetchy imports has
increased steadily and will continue to increase into the 1980's. As
demands for water continued to increase, the area began receiving
water through the State's aqueduct system in 1965. Those deliveries
are scheduled to increase to tae maximum in 1994. Projections of supply
and demand indicated that additional water would still be required.
Local agencies have contracted for water from the Bureau of
Reclamation's San Felipe Project to bring in additional supplies to
meet those increasing demands. Both the State Water Project (SWP) and
the San Felipe Project deliver to Santa Clara County water that orig-
inates in the Delta. In addition, the local agency will reduce its
imports of water from the Delta in drought years when such reduction
is necessary to protect the water quality of the Delta.

Although the local agencies have been aggressive in their
attempts to obtain additional water supplies and have planned well
ahead to insure adequate supplies, the difficulties in turning plans
into reality have resulted in a constant battle with increasing water
demands on one side and falling ground water levels and the threat
of additional subsidence of the land on the other side. Measures
that have been taken to maximize the efficiency of the operation


included the construction of additional percolation facilities within
streambeds and percolation ponds adjacent to the streambeds. By use
of a pump tax, the relative cost between ground water and delivered
water has been somewhat equalized; however, local agencies, as a
means of preserving some open space and agriculture, have maintained
a policy of charging for agricultural water at a rate equal to one-
fourth of that for municipal and industrial water.

The Santa Clara Valley Water District (SCVWD) operates the
conservation storage reservoirs riming the Valley, the percolation
facilities in the Valley,and also acts as a water wholesaler. The
physical aspects of management of the ground water basin consist of
storing winter runoff and releasing it to percolation ponds, recharge
of part of the water imported from outside the basin, and treatment
of imported water and its delivery to cities and retail companies for
resale to customers. Control of pumpage is attempted by the use of a
pump tax to equalize surface and ground water costs and by lower rates
for surplus surface water in wet years. In addition, mathematical
models have been developed by the State Department of Water Resources
(DWR) and the SCVWD as a first stage of conjunctive use operation
plans. The agency must implement management plans by persuasion
because it lacks the authority to control the pumping pattern in the
basin, specify the sources used, and mandate conservation practices.
Under present conditions and law, control of these management factors
can only be accomplished on a voluntary basis. Another factor that
is emerging as important to conjunctive use management is the need to
find some method of developing and maintaining industrial and agri-
cultural markets for efficient and economic reuse of reclaimed waste

Although the local agency has agreed to satisfy part of its
water demand through waste water reuse, it does not have the authority
to force its use in lieu of other supplies. The utlitmate answer to
this may be creation of agricultural preserves through purchase or land
use controls. Such actions could, if part of an overall plan, address
the problems of waste disposal, air pollution, open space, land
conservation, and transportation in a manner that may be acceptable to
the local residents.

To date, the use of reclaimed waste water for deliberate
recharge of a ground water basin is not considered a viable alternative
because of health constraints. In the hills surrounding this ground
water basin, most of the major surface water storage sites have already
been utilized for dams and reservoirs and additional opportunities
for construction of conservation storage is very limited.

Another factor influencing conjunctive use in Santa Clara
County is water quality conditions in the Sacramento-San Joaquin
Delta. State regulations require that salinity be controlled within
the Delta region to prevent incursion of salt water eastwardly into
the Delta. In drought years, this control results in a deficiency of
supply available for export to the Coastal basins and to other parts
of the State. Up to the 1975-77 drought, certain assumptions on
integrating surface water supplies and ground water supplies could be


made. The result of the 2-year drought is a significant decrease in
the firm yield of many of the projects that supplied imported water to
the area as well as decreases in the yields of the local water projects.

Sonoma County

The second example of water agency operation is in the Santa
Rosa Plain ground water basin of Sonoma County. This ground water basin
has never been under a great amount of stress. The major user prior to
development of Russian River surface water sources was the City of Santa
Rosa in the northern portion of the basin. The current major munici-
pal user is the City of Rohnert Park in the southern portion of the
basin. Outside of the two major urban areas, there is a large amount
of suburban or rural development with most of the noncity area being
served by either single family wells or by community wells serving
several to two hundred persons. For the most part, these wells are of
shallow to moderate depth.

Conjunctive use in this area means using the flow of Russian
River in combination with local ground water with each applied mostly
to separate areas. Water from the Russian River is derived from
both natural flow of the river and water released from storage from
Lake Mendocino in the upper part of the Russian River Basin. Increas-
ing reuse of waste water is occurring but is mainly to irrigate lands
that would not have been irrigated with the potable water supply.
The County Water Agency became concerned over water supplies in the
1960's when it realized that yield of Lake Mendocino might not be
adequate during dry years. To rectify that situation, they obtained
authorization for the Corps of Engineers to create Lake Sonoma by
building Warm Springs Dam on a major tributary of the Russian River.
Many environmentalists saw the proposed Warm Springs Dam project
as a growth inducing project as well as damaging the fishery of the
tributary streams. As a result, there were many years of dispute
and court action on the project. One of the major contentions was that
the ground water in the service area was a logical alternative to
construction of the Warm Springs project. The Santa Rosa Plain ground
water basin while having a very large amount of water in storage, has
a very limited annual replenishment rate due to low permeability soils
within the valley proper and faults impeding ground water movement
from the more permeable upland areas into the aquifers uderlying the

During the 1975-77 drought, it was anticipated that the
Russian River might run dry and cause severe shortages of water to urban
users; a plan was developed and implemented to drill additional
emergency wells. The strategy for urban water supply was to drill
deep wells which would be perforated into the lower aquifers because
these aquifers would not directly influence the many shallow domestic
wells. Water from these emergency wells, which would be drilled
adjacent to the water agency's aqueduct, would be pumped into the
aqueduct system for conveyance to the agency's customers. The plan
involved the export of ground water to adjacent areas. Although
rains occurred toward the end of the drought and avoided the necessity
for operating the emergency wells, it proved a catalyst for reviewing


problems associated with conjunctive use in this area. The strategy
used for agricultural supply was to divert and apply water prior to the
regular irrigation season when there was still natural flow in the
Russian River. The purpose of the early diversion was to satisfy
moisture deficiencies in the soil profiles and enable the permanent
crops to survive the drought.

The existing Lake Mendocino on the Russian River has almost
no carry over storage for the system. Therefore, water users relying
on Lake Mendocino are extremely vulnerable in dry and drought years.
During the past drought, it was necessary to essentially el minate fish
flows to preserve sufficient water to serve the urban users. If water
had been released to maintain fish flows, the reservoir would have gone
dry and pumping from the emergency wells would then have been imple -
mented. Planning for drought contingencies is continuing in the area.
In future droughts the various functions served by the Russian River,
that is, fishery, recreation, and urban and agricultural water uses
will all have to take planned deficiencies. This will lead to the need
to adopt a definitive conjunctive use plan. Such plan would require
sufficient well capacity to satisfy urban demands under a mandatory
conservation situation and incorporate the export of ground water during
dry years. The recharge operation would use the aqueduct system to
deliver water to the injection wells which would place it back in the
subsurface basin. During the dry years, those same wells (or duplicate
wells) would operate in reverse, would remove the water and put it
back in the aqueduct.

Problems being faced are financial and institutional. First,
a technical problem within the County is lack of an accurate measure
of water being diverted from the Russian River or of ground water being
pumped from the ground water basins. In many cases shallow wells along
the Russian River take combinations of subsurface flow of the river and
ground water underlying the subsurface channel of the river. Some of
the County's ground water basins are probably directly recharged by the
Russian River while others, although adjacent to the river, may
receive no recharge from that source. Accurate knowledge on the amount
of surface and ground water being taken at specific locations is neces-
sary if the mathematical models being developed by DWR and the County
Water Agency to represent the ground water basins and the surface river
systems are to have adequate input data and if the management plans
which will follow are to be reliable.

An institutional problem is the Water Agency's contract
responsibility to pay for the surface water projects. The Water
Agency's main interest must be in selling enough surface water to pay
for the projects. To enable the Agency to redirect its interests
there needs to be some change in authority and a change in financing.
One answer to the problem is for the Agency to levy a direct water
charge against all those either directly diverting from streams or
directly pumping from ground water basins. These charges would then
be used to finance management planning,development of the operations
models and plans,and for surveillance of both water quality and
quantity. Authority to determine and implement plans regulating the
relative amounts of surface and ground water used would also be


Figure 7


/'surface Water

Ground Water

Percent Mean Precipitation

100 70 100 50 50 120 80 180

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8



Water Reuse



The third related problem is the large number of individual
shallow wells in part of the ground water basin. Switching to a conjunc-
tive use operation for the ground water basin may cause ground water to
fluctuate considerably more than it has in the past, with the result
that some of the domestic wells may go dry during drought years. One
solution to this is to devise a method of financing multiple family
wells to replace groups of single domestic use wells in a block or area
that is adversely affected. The existing shallower wells would then be
put either out of service, abandoned, or onto a standby basis in case
the community well failed. Since the community well would be deeper
than the existing domestics, the probability of it being adversely
affected by conjunctive use operation would not be as large.
In regard to regional conjunctive use, both examples of opera-
tions in the Bay Area have some common problems. Before effective con-
junctive use can be obtained, there will need to be legislation empower-
ing local agencies to manage their water resources. These powers should
include control of pumping pattern, relative amounts of surface, ground
and reclaimed water used in portions of service areas, funding of manage-
ment studies and authority to enter cooperative arrangements with other
water agencies within the region. In the past, local agencies have
resisted these powers citing erosion of local control as being objection-
able but the running out of new sources to tap may well force the issue.

On the operational side, the old, easy answer of building
another water conservation project is no longer easy or perhaps even pos-
sible. It is necessary to rethink the relationship between the surface
and ground water projects. Figure 7 shows schematically the type of
relationship between surface and ground water existing prior to the
drought. In that type of operation, use of ground water during dry years,
would increase somewhat and would help carry the area through the dry
years. Under the new conditions, where the surface water may become
very scarce during dry years, the amount of ground water and/or water
from local carry-over surface storage used during dry years must in-
crease greatly. In the extreme, this could result in the type of
operation shown in Figure 7 wherein ground water and mandatory conser-
vation become functions of how dry it is. I have termed this a climax
operation. Operational studies have not yet been made to determine if
this is a feasible answer from the physical standpoint let alone the
economic standpoint. However, one thing is very clear--in California--
as the amount od developable water decreases, the importance of more
efficient use of all our water resources becomes more important. Unfor-
tunately, the amount of money required to obtain adequate control over
the use of our water resources will certainly also continue to escalate.
In the climax operation scheme shown in Figure 7, the switching to large
amounts of ground water during dry years would certainly require the
authorities previously noted.
DWR is in the process of redefining water supply and demand
relationships in both the San Francisco Bay Area and the Central Valley
areas. These two regions will then be tied together with operation
studies. Hopefully, most of the local agencies will continue to cooper-
ate in the study and we will negotiate a reallocation of water supplies.

Delaware Ground Water Use Policy:
Some Problems and Conflicts
Kenneth D. Woodruff1

There has always been a great deal of subjective rea-
soning and even mystery attached to the occurrence of
ground water. A Massachusetts Court decision in 1892 held
that "it is impossible to know in what direction perculat-
ing water finds its way into a well, -- its way of approach,
and its amount vary with the operation of obscure natural
causes through which it passes---". In 1892 at least, it
was considered hard to regulate something as elusive as
ground water.
In Delaware at that time the prevailing guideline for
water users was that of the old English doctrine of absolute
ownership. The ground water was considered td be an inte-
gral part of the land and could be used as one saw fit.
This doctrine was not formally challenged in Delaware until
about 1907 when it was denied by the courts in its very
first test. Further court tests of water law were few in
the State but the doctrine of "reasonable use" seemed to
replace that of "absolute ownership."
During the late 1950's and early 1960's, the adminis-
tration of matters dealing with natural resources in the
State was through a number of boards and commissions, none
of which had particularly broad powers. These groups
tended to supplement the courts rather than replace them.
Legislative reorganization however, especially over the
last ten to twelve years, has led to better defined areas
of responsibility and to a body of statute law regulating
the use of Delaware's water resources. In 1973 the doc-
trine of "equitable apportionment" was prescribed by
regulation to be the guideline in the allocation of ground-
water resources. Regulations were developed at the State
level that called for the allocation of ground water on a
permit basis, thus declaring the ground water to be the
trust of the State. At the moment, such regulations are
enforced by the Delaware Department of Natural Resources.
Individual county and local governments may also have their
own set of regulations which directly or indirectly control
ground-water use. For example, in New Castle County, the
northernmost and fastest growing county of the State, the
concept of ground-water recharge plays a role in zoning
decisions. The New Castle County Planning Department has
designated certain lands as "water resources protection
areas." These are areas where geologic and hydrologic
data show that recharge is occurring naturally at the
present time or could occur in the future by artificial
means. Rezoning or subdivision applications are then

1) Delaware Geological Survey


considered in light of their proximity to these "water
resources protection areas." A project that might pave over
a large land area could be denied at the county level on
the premise that it would pave over a recharge area.
Several developers have considered the use of artificial
recharge ponds or wells in order to have construction
plans approved but no large scale attempt has been made to
use such facilities in the State. Also, unless variances
were granted, the recharged water would probably not meet
local quality standards which would require the injected
water to be equal or better than the quality of drinking
water. At the time this was written EPA has not yet pro-
duced Federal standards for injected water but such stand-
ards could also affect the practicality of using recharge
Likewise, the County government may not allow installa-
tion of septic tanks in certain areas of the County, if
degredation of ground-water quality in a possible primary
recharge area would result. This guideline is independent
of either the rejection or approval of septic tanks based
on the traditional perculation tests. Such regulations
tend to support the State appropriation doctrine inasmuch
as the County is reserving part of the underground water
resources for consumptive use only. The question has been
raised informally,"is not dilution of wastes by ground
water a reasonable use of the resource?" Dilution has been
an accepted and generally recognized practice in surface
water management for years.
In at least one instance these regulations have led to
an interesting dilemma. A corridor of land bordering U.S.
Route 40 across the northern part of the State has been
designated for intensive development by both State and
County planning agencies. There are no apparent major
recharge areas underlying the area and thus development
would not run afoul of the restrictions just mentioned.
At the same time there is little available ground-water,
at least in readily obtainable high yields. The same
geology that has precluded substantial recharge has also
precluded the development of wells with any appreciable
yield except in a couple of notable spots. Service from
private water companies is theoretically available but most
systems in the area already operate near their maximum
pumping capacity during peak times.
Within this general framework then of local and State
government regulations I would like to briefly discuss
three other examples of local conflicts and indicate how
they were, or might be, resolved. First, let's look at an
interesting example of a direct conflict in resource priori-
ties that occurred recently in New Castle County. A local
contractor had applied to the County Board of Adjustments
for a rezoning change of a 300 acre tract. His intention
was to open a sand and gravel operation on a parcel of
land not presently zoned for this type of industry. His
choice of sites appeared favorable geologically and there
is a ready market for the materials. Most sand and gravel


is imported into Delaware despite the potential for develop-
ment within the State. Adjacent to the proposed site is a
well field used for public supply and other high yielding
industrial wells are located slightly farther away. Ques-
tions were raised by the Board concerning the effect of
the removal of several feet of the sand and gravel cover.
Figure 1 shows a sketch map of the area in question.
The opposition to the proposal seemed to center around
four major questions:
(1) would the proposed operation become a pollution
(2) was there any potential for additional ground-
water development within the site itself?
(3) what would be the effect of removal of material on
the water budget of the surficial aquifer?
(4) what would be the effect of sand and gravel
removal on the deeper artesian aquifers?
The Delaware Geological Survey was asked by both the
County and the contractor's geological consultant to pro-
vide data and assist in designing a field program to help
answer some of these questions. As discussions proceeded
it was apparent that the issue of water quality was sparked
by the fate of a few other abandoned gravel pits in the
State. In a couple of notable cases these pits had been
used as landfills and pollution of the ground-water in the
immediate area had resulted. However in this case the con-
tractor subsequently proposed to design his removal tech-
niques in whatever way might be dictated by the County and
to restore the land to pasture or meadow at the end of his
operations. A review of existing data indicated that at
the site itself there was little potential for additional
ground-water development in significant quantities. This
can be inferred from Figure 2, a geologic cross-section
through the area based on existing data. Further work was
then done to define the effect of removal of sand and
gravel on the water budget of the area. Dr. J. R. Mather,
consulting climatologist, assessed the possible change in
infiltration and evaporation rates due to removing a given
amount of material. First, the present water budget was
calculated. Then, assuming extreme conditions, that is,
removal of the upper soil layers across the entire 300
acre tract at one time, a new water budget was calculated.
The main effect of removing the soil layers would be to
change the amount of water normally held in the root zone
of the soil. Soil moisture capacity would be decreased by
removal of the overburden which in turn would lead to less
evapotranspiration and thus more water moving directly to
the water table. The consultant calculated that the over-
all net effect would be a slight increase in recharge.
Furthermore, the contractor volunteered to keep all exca-
vations at least five feet above the present water table in
order to eliminate the possibility of increasing evapo-
transpiration and to avoid dewatering operations.
The application was eventually denied on the basis
that the ground-water resources took precedent and that


Figure 1. Map showing location of proposed sand and
gravel extraction.


0 2000 ft

Columbio Fm.

S. sand and grovel


Kpt Potomoc Fm.

cloy and sllt

fine sand


Kpt fins to coarse sand

Figure 2. Geologic cross-section across area shown in
Figure 1.


even the possibility of placing the water resources in
jeopardy should not be allowed. The case does even more
than illustrate a conflict in resource use, it also points
out the bargain we get in the use of ground water under
present pricing policies. Consider that the local value of
sand and gravel averages about $10.50 a cubic yard at the
pit. The probable volume of useable material at the pro-
posed site, assuming removal to about 5 feet above the
average water table works out to about 6 million cubic
yards or about 9 million tons. This has a market value of
about $63 million.
For comparison, lets assume there is indeed ground-
water potential at the site and wells are continuously
pumped at the prevailing recharge rate of about 0.5 mgd.
About 250,000 gpd could be pumped which would have a value
of about '$124,000 a year. It would take about 480 years of
pumping to pump enough water with a value equal to the
value of the sand and gravel at present rates. Even
allowing for gross errors in reasoning the order of magni-
tude difference is impressive.
In contrast to this, large acreages in the southern
part of the State are intentionally drained for agricultural
purposes. The logic applied in both of these situations
could reasonably be taken to produce the greatest benefit
for the greatest number of people given existing patterns
of land use and population density. However, as pressure
on all resources increase it is clear that we need some
sort of integrated land-water reasonable use policy in
which legitimate and perhaps coexisting uses of both land
and water are defined.
I'd like to turn now to an example of a water use con-
flict involving several layers of local government. In
the winter of 1976-77 our office was contacted by a resident
of an area just outside the City of Newark, Delaware con-
cerning the failure of a number of shallow, dug wells in
his neighborhood. Residents first began to experience
lowered water levels in the spring of 1975 and the problem
seemed to get gradually worse through 1976. We visited
the area, made some water-level measurements, and concluded
that indeed the local water-table had dropped several feet
during the last year or so. The residents were placing the
blame on a municipal water supply well located nearby,
owned and operated by the City of Newark. Figure 3, a
sketch map of the area, shows major cultural features and
the location of wells involved.
Figure 4 shows a cross-section of the geology through
the area. All of the wells involved are located in or just
on the edge of a paleochannel of Pleistocene age. These
sediments are underlain by older sediments of Cretaceous
age which are predominately fine-grained but often contain
sand lenses capable of yielding large amounts of water.
All of the shallow wells in the area predate regulations
which require a well permit from the State. However the
municipal well which was drilled in about 1971 did require
a permit from the State Department of Natural Resources.


School Area

4 acres paved

/ Domestic Wells

Municipal Well

0 800 feet

Figure 3. Location of doemstic wells and area affected
by lowered water table.










sands with some gravel


Weathered Rock.

Weathered Rock

0 ft 500

Crystalline Bedrock

Figure 4. Geologic cross-section through area shown in
Figure 3.



Also, an allocation of 288,000 gallons per day was granted
in 1970, based on previous testing.
Two or three homeowners, now without water elected to
tap into a public water supply main running by their pro-
perty. The rest of the residents refused to tap into
public water, citing the bad tastes and odors, and preferred
to get by with their present wells. As part of the evalua-
tion the Delaware Geological Survey drilled a 165 foot test
hole in the area, into weathered crystalline rock, pene-
trating the entire Coastal Plain section. The results
showed a 10 foot thick sand from about 90 feet to 100 feet
below land surface that appeared capable of yielding enough
water for domestic wells. Furthermore the sand did not
appear to be hydraulically connected to the shallower sands
of Pleistocene age above. Therefore the apparent technical
solution to the problem seemed to be the construction of
individual wells in this lower sand. In the meantime, a
State law was passed which stated, in part, that when the
use of water causes the depletion of an existing use, then
the affected person will be provided with a connection to
an existing system and three years of free water will be
provided, or an alternate source of water be provided, equal
in quantity and quality to the depleted source. The
Delaware Department of Natural Resources determined that
the City well was indeed the cause of depletion in this
instance and ordered the City to hook up the affected
residents to the nearby public system. The public system
in the area is not owned by the City but by a private water
company. Even though the City had a well here they could
not service the area by law since their water at this point
was not chlorinated. Most of the residents objected to the
decision to hook them up to the public system, preferring
instead their own deeper wells, even if they had to pay for
new wells themselves. However, another regulation of the
State Division of Health and Social Services stated that
residents must hook into an existing system when one was
available. At this point the local hydrology should be
considered in a little more detail.
Figure 5 shows the distance drawdown curve for the
City well in question. The curve is derived from the
aquifer coefficients calculated from the original pump test
for the well. Also indicated.are the locations and depths
of the affected wells and the normal average water level.
Datum is the average water-table elevation, about 11 feet
below ground level. The distance-drawdown curve is plotted
with the zero drawdown line corresponding to the average
water level. Notice that at the extreme far end of the
area (the right) the drawdown effect due to the City well
pumping 200 gallons per minute is on the order of 3.5 feet.
At the nearest domestic well the drawdown is about 6.5 feet.
Figure 6 shows the levels recorded in nearby water
table observation well for the last part of 1973 through
part of 1977. The usual trend of seasonal highs and lows
are apparent through water year 1976. Notice the lack of
recovery of water levels in 1977, the period during which



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problems were first noticed. This was an exceptionally dry
period with a cold winter and frozen top-soil that lasted
nearly all winter an unusual situation for Delaware. Thus
what precipitation did occur could not infiltrate the
ground and near the end of the winter water-table levels
averaged at least three feet below normal.
Figure 7 shows the same distance drawdown graph as that
in Figure 5 but with the lowered water-table also plotted.
At about 1,700 feet from the city's pumping well the change
due to natural conditions is about the same as the change
due to the drawdown effect from the City well.
The school area immediately adjacent to the private
wells may be a small but at the present, unknown third
factor. Several acres were paved in its construction and
the runoff is carried away by storm sewers.
Thus the question has been raised should such regula-
tions allowing compensation take into account the effect of
abnormally dry periods or other natural changes? In this
case the first six well owners of shallow wells nearest the
City well experienced drawdowns due to interference somewhat
greater than natural lowering of water levels. However, at
the location of two of the private wells the natural lower-
ing of the water table was about equal to that due to pump-
ing interference. Overall, the decisions reached are pro-
bably in keeping with the objective of equitable apportion-
ment. However, the owners of the domestic wells initiated
a suit to either have the City well shut off or be allowed
to drill their own deeper wells. The matter was settled
informally so that no decision was ever legally made on the
question of individual rights.
This case history is the first application of the com-
pensation law. However the situation is probably illustra-
tive of some of the difficulties we are going to encounter
in attempting to apply the law.
Finally, there is another problem that is just beginn-
ing to show up locally and will probably lead to some hard
decisions in the next few years. The ground-water, surface-
water relationship is becoming more evident as the State's
demand for water continues to grow. In the past, surface
water and ground water development have proceeded more or
less independently of each other, both practically and
legally. That is, few if any regulations really addressed
the fact that it's all the same water. Now in a few
instances, as demand increases, we are beginning to see
these two uses affect each other.
A private water company withdraws water just below the
junction of Red Clay and White Clay Creek in northern
Delaware, west of Wilmington (see Figure 8). Present use
averages about 16 mgd. Average use had increased about
1 mgd per year for the last few years. The combined 7-day
10 year low flow at this point is about 15 mgd. There have
been times, during dry periods when the flow was thus about
1 mgd or so short of meeting demands. Upstream of the
water filtration plant in the crystalline rock of the Pied-
mont Province are located several municipal wells. Not all




0 "4







u -1




0 2000 ft.

I Po'




tential Ground-Water
e 1.5 mgd

-16 mgd

- -

* Wells
"- Drainage Divide

Figure 8. Map showing drainage area and location of
crystalline rock wells.



of these wells are on line; some are still waiting for
approvals or main extensions. The sites were picked after
extensive geological investigations and all wells produce
about 10 times the average yield of a Piedmont well. If all
of the wells shown were pumping at the same time, (which
they never have), they would probably produce between 1.0
and 1.5 mgd on a short term basis. As has been mentioned,
the ground-water recharge rate is about 0.5 mgd per square
mile and all but two wells are located within the same
square mile. The informal State policy has been to try to
limit withdrawals to the recharge rate. Water to the wells
is coming from discrete fracture zones within the hard rock,
but the recharge area to the fracture zones is not known
with any certainty. Pumping tests and chemical analyses
seem to indicate that at least part of the water may be
derived from streamflow. On the other hand the stream
fair-weather flow is derived from ground-water run-off.
If another mgd were pumped from the headwaters of the
Basin it would be even more difficult to meet the downstream
demands in dry weather. The Delaware River Basin Commission,
a Federal-Interstate agency, has already issued an "entitle-
ment" to the downstream water company for 16 mgd of surface
water but apparently, no comparable granting yet exists at
the State level. Both the State and the Basin Commission
must also give an allocation for the ground-water with-
drawals for those wells not yet on line. The question of
equitable apportionment is going to be a difficult one
because both users service large populations and both need
all the water they can get at the moment. Perhaps a
possible solution would be to cycle various wells on and
off so that the total withdrawal from ground water at any
one time does not exceed the recharge rate. This would
still give the well user some flexibility.
These examples are probably illustrative of similar
problems across the country. But such cases illustrate the
need for total resource management. Delaware has recog-
nized this need by reorganization of the various resource
agencies under one department. It remains to work out the
inherent communication problems between the various levels
of government and the people and to recognize in law both
the complexities and interrelationships of the natural
hydrologic system.


By Jack J. Coe F. ASCE


The yield of the existing facilities of the California State
Water Project (SWP) is inadequate to satisfy contractual entitlements
of the Project's customers. Construction of environmentally acceptable
surface storage facilities is expensive and takes years. For these
reasons the California Department of Water Resources is examining the
feasibility of using ground water basins in the San Joaquin Valley and
Southern California to increase the yield of the SWP by placing water
underground during periods of ample supply for withdrawal and delivery
during subsequent dry years.

Firming Up the Yield of the SWP

Currently, annual water use in the State is about 37 million
acre-feet (45 600 cubic hectometres) of which 87 percent or 32 million
acre-feet (39 500 cubic hectometres) is used for irrigation and 5 mil-
lion acre-feet (6 200 hectometres) for urban use. Water is obtained in
about equal amounts from ground water and surface water.

During the normal water supply year, the yield of the exist-
ing facilities of the SWP is about 2.3 million acre-feet (2 800 cubic
hectometres) compared to total contract entitlements of 1.8 million
acre-feet (2 200 cubic hectometres) in 1978 and total maximum annual
entitlements of 4.23 million acre-feet (5 200 cubic hectometres).
Because of this future deficiency and problems arising during the
drought of 1976 and 1977, additional facilities and operational schemes
have been identified which will provide the additional yield needed for
the SWP until the year 2000. These features are shown on Figure 1.

The Peripheral Canal is already an authorized feature of the
SWP. Waste water reclamation and increased efficiency of water use are
being proposed for the first time as official features of the SWP.

The facilities will increase the annual yield of the SWP and
Central Valley Project (CVP) by about 3 million acre-feet (3 700 cubic
hectometres). The State's share of the yield is 1.8 million acre-feet
(2 200 cubic hectometres), and the federal share is 1.2 million acre-
feet (1 480 cubic hectometres).

Conjunctive Use

One of the features being planned for firming up the yield of
SWP is the use of underground storage of project water. SWP water

1 Chief, Southern District, California Department of Water Resources,
Los Angeles, California


Chino Bosin'I





would be placed underground during periods of ample supply and with-
drawn and used in subsequent dry years when surface supplies of the SWP
were deficient. This operation could be called a conjunctive use of
surface and ground waters.

According to the American Society of Civil Engineers Manual
No. 40 "Ground Water Management", "the conjunctive operation of a ground
water basin involves the use of the basin for transmitting and storing
varying portions of the area's water supply by coordinating the aquifer
functions with man-made facilities, such as reservoirs and pipelines,
to meet the water requirements of an area". Conjunctive use of surface
and ground water results in: (1) a reduction of waste of water to
saline bodies which removes it from the fresh water portion of the
hydrologic cycle; and (2) an increase in yield over that achievable
from operating the surface water project and ground water development

The concept of conjunctive use of surface and ground waters
is not new, but there is a need and opportunity for increased practice
of this mode of operation. Managers have been inhibited and engineers
discouraged because of fears of the unknown. Long-term infiltration
rates are often subject to speculation. Total, usable, and available
ground water storage may not be well defined. Magnitudes of subsurface
inflows and outflows are usually made the residuals in water balance
equations because it is often difficult to determine them directly.
The quality of ground water in underlying and adjacent formations can
be questionable. How much water should we spread this year? Next year
might be wet! What will be the capital and operating costs? However,
perhaps the greatest obstacles to implementing conjunctive use programs
are legal and institutional factors, such as: (1) who owns the water
after it's spread or injected and placed in storage? (2) who takes
the loss for increase in subsurface outflows as result of artificial
recharge? (3) who benefits from higher ground water levels as a result
of artificial recharge? (4) who is responsible if raised ground water
levels cause damages to structures? (5) how are the costs and benefits
allocated among participants and beneficiaries?

Fortunately, we are obtaining answers to some of these ques-
tions. In California, two State Supreme Court decisions have provided
guidance to those involved in the ground water management. In 1975,
in "City of Los Angeles vs. City of San Fernando, et al" and "Niles
Sand and Gravel Company vs. Alameda County Water District" the Court
recognized that public agencies have a right to: (1) store water in
ground water basins; (2) protect stored water from expropriation; and
(3) recapture the stored water.

Programs Underway. The wet winter of 1977-78 greatly accel-
erated the initiation of the SWP use of underground storage. The
partial melt from the 300 percent of normal snowpack in the Kern River
watershed resulted in the flooding of over 40,000 acres (16 200 hec-
tares) of fertile farmland in the southern San Joaquin Valley last
spring. Through use of a gravity diversion structure called the Kern
River Intertie, the Department of Water Resources conveyed over
100,000 acre-feet (123 cubic hectometres) of flood waters through the


California Aqueduct to Southern California for underground storage. In
May and June of 1978 over 22,000 acre-feet (27 cubic hectometres) of
this flood water were released from the SWP Silverwood Reservoir into
the Mojave River for percolation in ground water basins within the
Mojave Water Agency (MWA), a SWP contractor. Starting in 1979, MWA can
recapture the water through wells rather than take water directly from
the California Aqueduct. This permits additional State water being
available to the San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District,
another SWP contractor. The District will not only take its own
contract entitlements but will spread in its ground water basins for
subsequent recapture water that would normally be delivered to the MWA.
The District will store up to 50,000 acre-feet (62 cubic hectometres)
of the SWP water in this demonstration conjunctive use program.

Legal and Institutional Aspects of Conjunctive Use in Three Selected

The Department of Water Resources is now examining nine
basins to determine their potential for increasing the yield of the SWP
through a conjunctive use operation. Reconnaissance level reports will
be completed this summer followed by more intensive study in the more
promising areas. Three of these are discussed in this paper. They
were selected because they present a range of problems and opportuni-
ties. Their locations are shown on Figure 1.

Chino Basin. The Chino ground water basin covers approxi-
mately 230 square miles (596 square kilometres) within portions of
Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties as shown on
Figure 2. Average annual precipitation on the valley floor ranges from
15 to 25 inches (381 to 635 mm). Total underground storage capacity is
about 10 million acre-feet (12 300 cubic hectometres) with about
8 million acre-feet (9 900 cubic hectometres) of water now in storage,
leaving about 2 million acre-feet (2 500 cubic hectometres) of empty
space. Annual extractions from about 900 wells is about 175,000 acre-
feet (215 cubic hectometres). The area is rapidly becoming urban, with
residential development replacing citrus and grapes.

Local agencies currently operate artificial recharge facili-
ties, many along the alluvial fans in the north part of the basin.
Some of these facilities could be utilized to spread SWP water released
from the Rialto Reach of the Foothill Feeder of The Metropolitan Water
District of Southern California (MWD), a SWP contractor. Additional
wells will need to be installed to recapture water for a large scale
ground water storage program such as DWR is contemplating. Some of the
water extracted may be pumped directly into the existing Upper Feeder
of MWD for use as a surface supply in the Chino Basin or elsewhere
within the MWD service area. Preliminary indications are that the
yield of the SWP can be increased by about 100,000 acre-feet (125 cubic
hectometres) per year through conjunctive use in the Chino Basin.

Legal Aspects. As a result of declining ground water
levels, localized water quality problems, and the need for a legal








framework to develop a management plan, a suit was filed in 1975 to
adjudicate water rights and impose a physical solution. The judgment,
signed on January 27, 1978, provided for:

1. Determination of individual water rights.

2. Allocation of the decreed rights into three operating pools:

a. Overlying producers who produce water for other than
industrial or commercial purposes,

b. Overlying producers who produce water for industrial or
commercial purposes,

4 c. Owners of appropriative rights (cities, water districts,

3. A Watermaster with authority to levy assessments against pool
members to purchase replenishment water.

4. An advisory and three pool committees.

5. Use of excess storage capacity by nonparties with approval of
the Watermaster.

Because of the recent settlement of water rights and the
development of a physical solution, there appears to be no serious
legal constraints to implementing a SWP conjunctive use program in
the Chino Basin.

Institutional Aspects. Water purveyors in the Chino
Basin comprise individuals, the Chino Basin Municipal Water District
(CBMWD), water companies, water districts, the various cities, and
others. The CBMWD is a member agency of MWD and thus is entitled to
water from that district. MWD, in turn, obtains water from Northern
California through the SWP and from the Colorado River.

At present, there are three types of conjunctive use programs
under consideration, all of which can be implemented within the
physical solution adopted by the court:

1. Local: Watermaster levies assessments, purchases replenish-
ment water, and replaces each year water extracted the
preceding year in excess of safe yield.

2. Regional: MWD, with approval of Watermaster stores imported
water underground for use in times of shortage of MWD
surface supplies.

3. State: DWR, with approval of Watermaster, stores imported
water underground for use in times of shortage of SWP
surface supplies.


Since April 1978, over 9,000 acre-feet (11 cubic hectometres)
of MWD water, costing from $41 to $48 per acre-foot, were placed under-
ground under the Local program using pump tax revenues. MWD is now
discussing with local agencies the feasibility and need for storing
100,000 acre-feet of water (125 cubic hectometres) under the Regional
program. Discussions are also underway of increasing the yield of the
SWP by 100,000 acre-feet (125 cubic hectometres) in a State program.

Many of the institutional problems involving water management
were resolved as the result of the adjudication of water rights and
development of a "physical solution" to the overdraft condition. At
this point, the potential participating agencies are evaluating the
scope, costs, benefits, and source of funding for each of the three
programs. Fortunately, because of the large underground storage space
available, more than one program can be implemented. Degree of "local
control" and advantages of State funding are also factors being

San Fernando Basin. The San Fernando Basin covers about
112,000 acres (45,000 hectares) and is located entirely in Los Angeles
County as shown on Figure 3. Precipitation on the valley floor aver-
ages about 16 inches (410 mm) reaching over 21 inches (530 mm) in the
mountains. The ground water basin has a total storage capacity of
3.2 million acre-feet (3 900 cubic hectometres). About 2.7 million
acre-feet (3 330 cubic hectometres) of water is now in storage, leaving
500,000 acre-feet (620 cubic hectometres) of storage space available
for management programs. The area is highly urbanized, comprising part
of the City of Los Angeles and the Cities of Glendale, Burbank, and San
Fernando. The Basin is the terminus of the Los Angeles Aqueduct from
Owens Valley and also receives imported water from MWD. Extractions
range from 100,000 acre-feet (125 cubic hectometres) to 160,000 acre-
feet (200 cubic hectometres) with the cities being the major pumpers.

The San Fernando Basin was the first area considered for a
SWP conjunctive use program because considerable information was avail-
able on the geology and hydrology, and local water rights and institu-
tional problems were felt to be minor. However, because of
uncertainties as to availability of storage space, allocations of costs,
and contractual arrangements, the Department of Water Resources
developed a theoretical model of a storage scheme rather than attempt
to implement a full scale program. The DWR plan envisions the

1. Water from Castaic Reservoir, the West Branch terminus of the
SWP, would be conveyed about 20 miles (32 kilometres) through
MWD facilities to existing spreading grounds of the City of
Los Angeles and Los Angeles County Flood Control District.
Several short pipelines would be built to connect the MWD
facilities with one or more spreading grounds, as shown on
Figure 4.

2. Existing and possibly new wells would be used for recapture of
stored water which would he pumped into the existing distribu-
tion systems of the participating cities.








3. SWP water in the amount of 320,000 acre-feet (395 cubic
hectometres) would be stored over an initial 7-year span
followed by a 5-year recapture period. This would be followed
by a second cycle of 6-year storage period and a 5-year
recapture period.

4. Two methods of storage:

a. Primarily "direct storage" with most of water placed in
storage by spreading,

b. Primarily "indirect storage" with storage allowed to
increase by decreasing well pumping and increasing direct
surface deliveries.

Legal Aspects. Litigation extending intermittently since
1886 over the rights to water in the San Fernando Basin was ended with
the 1975 California State Supreme Court decision in City of Los Angeles
vs. City of San Fernando, et al which:

1. Adopted "native safe yield" and "safe yield" (including that
derived from imported water) for each of the subbasins,

2. Found that City of Los Angeles had prior and paramount pueblo
rights to surface waters of the Los Angeles River and the
native ground waters,

3. Determined appropriative and prescriptive rights of the

4. Found that the overlying cities had rights to recapture import
return water,

5. Recognized that nonparty public agencies had the right to use
excess ground water storage capacity provided that any losses
of water in storage caused by the presence of nonparty water
would be charged against such stored water rather than the
safe yield or stored water of a public agency party,

6. Created a Watermaster.

Institutional Aspects. The major institutional questions
revolve around the "competition" among local, regional, and State agen-
cies for the use of spreading facilities, underground storage space,
and wells, of which the major problem is storage space. The City of
Los Angeles plans to use underground space, both in Owens Valley (at
intake to Los Angeles Aqueduct in Inyo County) and the San Fernando
Basin, for conjunctive use. The drought confirmed this need. In addi-
tion, there must be space for local runoff spread in artificial
recharge projects. Also, MWD could use storage space for a regional
conjunctive use operation. Possible storage allocations are shown in
Figure 5.




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P a l L.


Another issue is who would retain title, or ownership, to the
stored water? Originally, the Department of Water Resources assumed in
its study that the State would retain title to assure an increase in
SWP yield. However, MWD believes it should hold the title.

Other institutional considerations are the organization,
functions, and authority of the local operating and control agency
which would schedule spreading and recapture, determine losses from the
basin, and allocate costs and savings. For the State to develop a firm
yield for the SWP, it must be assured that water can be stored and
recaptured at the appropriate times. With the State program comes
State financing for facilities to implement the program--perhaps
causing a reduction in the scope and benefit of local basin operations.
The challenge is to develop a SWP storage program which will be compat-
ible with regional and local operations and maximize benefits to all.
The theoretical model is more fully described in DWR Bulletin 186.

White Wolf Basin and Kern River Fan Area. The White Wolf
Basin is located in the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley and
covers about 52,000 acres (21 000 hectares). Average precipitation is
about 5 inches (127 mm). The total ground water storage capacity is
nearly 4 million acre-feet (4 900 cubic hectometres). Total amount of
water in storage is now about 2.5 million acre-feet (3 100 cubic
hectometres), leaving 1.5 million acre-feet (1 800 cubic hectometres)
as available space. Overlying land is devoted to irrigated agriculture
or is undeveloped.

The Kern River Fan Area is located in the west central part
of Kern County and covers around 144,000 acres (58 000 hectares).
Annual precipitation averages about 6 inches (152 mm) over the valley
floor. The Kern River traverses the area and has a 76-year average
annual flow near Bakersfield of about 700,000 acre-feet (860 cubic
hectometres). About 6 million acre-feet (7 400 cubic hectometres) of
water are in storage with existing space of almost 3 million acre-feet
(3 700 cubic hectometres). Except for the City of Bakersfield and
streambeds, overlying land is used mainly for irrigated agriculture.
The California Aqueduct traverses the western portions of the White
Wolf Basin and Kern River Fan Area. Ground water levels have been
dropping for years and there is a severe overdraft in both areas
(Figures 6 and 7).

The SWP conjunctive use program would consist of conveyance
of California Aqueduct water to percolation areas along the Kern River
channel and potential spreading basins in the White Wolf Basin located
along the Aqueduct and a main canal of the Wheeler Ridge-Maricopa Water
Storage District. Existing and some new wells would be used for

Legal Aspects. Water rights in the White Wolf Basin and
Kern River Fan Area have not been adjudicated, and there is currently
no control or limits to ground water pumping. In the absence of


: *
a ,C









judicial decrees, management plans for adding yield to the SWP and
overcoming current local overdraft must be defined and enforced through
interagency agreements.

Institutional Aspects. The Kern County Water Agency
(KCWA) covers both areas and has a contract with the Department of
Water Resources for SWP water. Within KCWA are several water districts
which receive SWP water from the Agency for irrigation of large corpo-
rate farms. There is some concern by local districts that a SWP con-
junctive use program will conflict with local plans to reduce the
overdraft and will reduce the availability of SWP "surplus water" at
reduced rates for direct use on crops. As in the Chino and San
Fernando Basins, there are concerns over "competition" with the State
in the use of the following:

1. Water supply from the SWP;

2. Conveyance facilities from the SWP to spreading basins;

3. Spreading basins;

4. Underground storage space;

5. Wells; and

6. Distribution system from the wells to points of use.

In the White Wolf Basin and Kern River Fan Areas,
"competition" could exist over all of the above items except storage
space, which because of the significant overdraft is large enough to
accommodate both local and State Programs. Major "competition" arises
from the local agencies' desire to purchase maximum amounts of "surplus
water" from the SWP for irrigation. SWP and local conveyance facili-
ties may not be able to deliver the requested amounts of both "surplus
water" and conjunctive use water when needed. Ongoing studies will
determine the degree of compatibility of the two programs. Careful
scheduling of deliveries and of use of conveyance, recharge, and
recapture facilities may be the solution.

The storage of State water underground would raise ground
water levels. Of course, levels would decline when stored State water
is removed in times of surface water shortage. Local agencies report
that raising or substantial fluctuation of ground water levels would
result in inefficient operation of their well pumping equipment because
of head-discharge-efficiency relationships. However, it is generally
agreed the total pumping costs would be reduced with higher ground
water levels.


The following conclusions can be reached based on the studies
to date by the California Department of Water Resources on ground water
conjunctive use as part of the State Water Project:


1. The underground storage of water that would otherwise flow to
the ocean increases the water supplies of the State,

2. A program in which water from the SWP is stored underground
during periods of abundant runoff in the Sacramento-San
Joaquin Delta and recaptured and used in periods of surface
water deficiency or emergency can increase the yield and
reliability of the SWP,

3. Increasing the yield of the SWP through a conjunctive use
program could defer the construction of expensive surface
water storage facilities in Northern California,

4. Storage of water from the SWP in underground basins would
increase the average elevation of ground water levels and
reduce ground water pumping costs,

5. Underground storage of SWP water would improve the quality
of the ground water supplies in many basins,

6. Court adjudication of water rights and approval of "physical
solutions" in many basins, together with recent State Supreme
Court decisions on use of underground storage by nonparty
public agencies have provided a strong legal framework for
the practice of conjunctive use,

7. Major institutional considerations primarily involve
"competition" between local and State agencies over the use
of conveyance facilities, spreading basins, underground
storage space, and wells. These conflicts can often be
solved by facility enlargement and scheduling. Another issue
is the desire for "local control". State funding for construc-
tion of needed facilities for a conjunctive use program
provides an inducement for local cooperation and participation,

8. The challenge to implementing a conjunctive use program is for
local and State agencies to develop a plan for joint use of
water supplies, facilities, and storage space to achieve the
goals of local water management as well as increasing the
yield of the SWP.


Principal investigators of the California Department of Water
Resources involved in the SWP underground storage program described in
this paper are Richard E. Angelos, Clyde B. Arnold, Carlos Madrid,
Patricia P. Perovich, Frank A. Meccia, and Diane Sanchez.


by Otto Helweg, M. ASCE1 and Woody Brooks2


The problem of overpumping and groundwater degradation in the Tulare
Lake Basin in the Central Valley of California is discussed along with some of
the proposed solutions. It appears that intra-basin transfers could reduce the
need for imported water and decrease the size of the proposed drain to export
drainage water of low quality out of the basin, which is partially closed. The
major obstacles to a basin-wide management scheme are legal and institutional.
California is one of the three western states that has little or no formal
groundwater law. The three main appraoches in this situation to manage the
basin are the "do nothing" alternative in which the groundwater would continue
to degrade and some water levels continue to fall until the pumping became
uneconomical for most and/or the groundwater became too saline to use. The
second alternative is to establish pumping limits through court action, but this
is very expensive and time consuming, normally costing millions of dollars and
taking 10 to 20 years. The third alternative is to form an overall water district
or confederation of districts, but this is also complex because of the great
number of existing districts and the lack of commitment to a basin-wide
solution. At this point, all of these alternatives are being investigated in hopes
to reach a feasible solution.


California is the main agriculture state in the Union receiving 9% of the
national agricultural income (8). The backbone of the state's agribusiness is
the Central Valley, one of the most productive agricultural areas in the world
(see Figure 1). The Central Valley is divided into four water-quality sub-regions,
the southernmost (region 5D) called the Tulare Lake Basin. This is a semi-closed
basin in that surface runoff out of the basin occurs only in years of above-normal
rainfall. The groundwater, however, flows toward Tulare Lake near the center
of the basin (Figure 2).

1Associate Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, University of California,
Davis, California.
2Research Assistant, School of Law, University of California, Davis, California.


6 -A
5k. C


FIG. 1 The Central Valley includes
The Tulare Basin is 5D. (2)


;-. .-

N.I 6

areas 5A, B, C, & D.




101,- R N A.' f nC .


1-1 1A 1 --I-AI

) *N.* N ,t IGr.. ,p*

N'. *I' ""u
-, i' 'i
*. \UU ;



FIG. 2 Piezometric contours for the confined and unconfined
aquifers, Tulare Lake Basin. (10)


Because of the intense irrigation activity, groundwater degradation is being
experienced in several areas and will certainly increase in the future. The
problems of overdraft and land subsidance have been recognized for many years
in tihs area and are connected to the groundwater quality degradation. An
additional problem is waterlogging of low-lying areas with inadequate drainage.
The groundwater quality degradation (which is basically an increase in salinity)
is caused by irrigation and is illustrated in Figure 3. As groundwater is applied
to an irrigated field, the pure water is used by the plants leaving the salts
(dissolved ions) behind in the remaining drainage water. The same amount of
salts in a smaller volume of water produces an increased concentration of salts,
measured as total dissolved solids (TDS in mg/1), or as electrical conductivity
(in mmhos/cm). Since the natural movement of groundwater to flush itself out
is normally much slower than the build-up of salts, the concentration of salts
increases over time until the groundwater becomes unusable. Figure 4 shows
the areas of groundwater degradation in the Tulare Lake Basin.


Several solutions have been proposed to control, if not completely solve,
the groundwater quality problem (realizing that the final solution will probably
be a combination of some, if not all, of these). One proposal is to tile the
fields where waterlogging occurs and lead all of the drainage water to a surface
drain which would discharge into the Delta as in Figure 5. This has been under
study by the Fed-State Interagency Drainage Project committee (6). Another
solution is irrigation management to decrease the leaching fraction and reduce
the amount of fertilizer applied. Another is to import high-quality surface
water which would solve the overdraft problem in some areas, but not the
waterlogging problem and would, therefore, have to be combined with a tiling

Obviously, one way to equalize the overdraft and waterlogging problems in
the basin would be to make transfers within the basin to equalize the imbalances.
Theoretically, this could be done by using the classic subset of Linear Pro-
gramming, the Transportation Algorithm. However, the water quality problem
would still exist. The Accelerated Salt Transport (ASTRAN) Method introduces
water quality as a constraint to the Transportation Algorithm, transforming it
into a normal Linear Programming model and seeks to overcome groundwater
degradation by applying groundwater at different locations to maintain a quality
gradient and accelerate the movements of salts "downstream" (5). Though
within a closed basin there would still have to be some exporting of drainage
water, the amount might be greatly reduced and the need for imported water
might be decreased. Figure 6 is a schematic diagram of how the ASTRAN
Method works on a one-dimensional model.

In order for the ASTRAN Method to work, there has to be centralized
control of water distributions including groundwater. Basin-wide interests aside,
there is some evidence which suggests that the present water distributions in
the Tulare Lake Basin are not Pareto Optimal. That is, there are some possible
intra-basin transfers that would benefit both or all parties involved. Unfor-
tunately, surface water rights transfers are difficult enough without considering
groundwater. Because of poorly developed groundwater law, the legal and
institutional problems are magnified.


0.5 m3 pure water evapctranspired .
TDS =0 1.0 m3 of
irrigation water
A~ i ATDS =500 mls/1

///I/I/// ///i///^///^ //^/,/lil/^^

4 1 1
0.5 m3 water percolated TDS = 000 mg/I

Goulater ,TS =500 ,m -j
Groundwater TDS = 500 mg/I

I I 1 I i i i :

FIG. 3 The mechanism of groundwater degradation from
irrigation. (5)


RANGES FROM 500 TO I.0W00, mh
RANGES FROM 1.000 TO 3.000. .ho

FIG. 4 Areas of groundwater degradation in the Tulare
Lake Basin. (10)



uL 4 '|\ 0.I

\ a \ is

0\ .
10 U

\ \ = _
--*, z -


Transported Downstream

----- Increasing Salt Concentration

FIG. 6 A schematic diagram of the Accelerated Salt Transport
(ASTRAN) Method. (5)



Surface water legislation is understandably more advanced than groundwater,
and the control of surface water rights more precise. Nevertheless, the status
of surface water is less clear in California than in any other state. Basically,
the western states fall into two categories concerning surface water law, those
using the "Colorado doctrine" and those following the "California doctrine."
The former group of states rejected the riparian doctrine from the start, and
include Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, and New
Mexico. The others recognized the riparian doctrine to varying degrees and
combined it with the law of prior appropriation. Most of these, however, have
limited the riparian doctrine, following the lead of Oregon, which quantified
riparian rights and eliminated the possibility of new riparian uses. California,
however, has not done so, which makes the total accounting of water in any
basin very difficult, if not impossible (1). The complications this causes for
a planner attempting to efficiently utilize water in a basin are obvious, and
this surface water situation compounds the problems caused by the inadequate
groundwater law.

Although a riparian right generally has priority over an appropriative right,
most riparian rights have not been quantified, and even estimating the quantity
used by riparians is difficult. Riparian owners are limited by the requirement
of reasonable use and, except for domestic uses, by the correlative rights of
other riparians. There are a number of limitations on the transfer of water
rights, which are covered by Lee (7). However, groundwater adjudication often
aids in a basin-wide solution which will be explained below.

Of the eighteen western states, only 3 (California, Nebraska and Texas)
have no, or practically no, formal groundwater rights law. Several states, such
as Colorado, apply the prior appropriation doctrine for groundwater. In Colorado,
for example, when the aquifer is hydraulically connected to a river, groundwater
rights are given priorities along with surface rights in the stream-aquifer system.
When a call is made on the river, the junior pumper must supply to the senior
appropriators on the river an amount of water equal to the amount depleting
the river as a result of his pumping. An application for diversion and
appropriation of excess water must be made, and the permission of the State
Engineer must be obtained in order to drill a well.

Unfortunately, California has no such law even though the need for one has
long been recognized. For example, the California Conservation Commission
concluded in 1913 that statutory regulation of groundwater was needed (9).
Unfortunately, little has been done since that time. Consequently, what law
exists has come mainly from the courts and, in part, illustrates the legal
aphorism "hard cases make bad law" (4). Nevertheless, a brief introduction to
that "bad law" is necessary to understand the problems in implementing a
basin-wide water quantity and quality plan.

The following explanation relies heavily on the excellent work by Anne
,Schneider (9) and other monographs from the Governor's commission to review
water rights law (1, 7). California groundwater rights start from the common
law rule that a land owner owns everything under his land. This rule of absolute
ownership, articulated in the English case of Acton v. Blundell in 1843, was
predicated on the notion that the nature and movement of percolating ground-
water were not capable of being understood, and was developed in response to


humid conditions, where abundant groundwater was often a nuisance to be
disposed of. Under this common law rule, a land owner has no protection from
the overpumping of his neighbor. This rule was rejected in 1903 by the
California Supreme Court in the case of Katz v. Walkinshaw, the court finding
it inappropriate in an arid region where groundwater is a precious resource.
The court found that groundwater was not an "hitherto unused supply" and
withdrawing too much would affect streams as well as the underground reservoir.
Consequently, the court limited the use by overlying owners to reasonable
beneficial uses on the overlying land, and established the doctrine of correlative
rights, which is analagous to the riparian doctrine which gives everyone bordering
the body of water a proportional share. In the later case of Pasadena v.
Alhambra (1949), "overlying land" was limited to land within the groundwater

In addition to this overlying right, California also recognizes an appropriative
right to pump groundwater for beneficial use on land not overlying the ground-
water basin, or by some person other than the owner of the land on which the
well is located. However, unlike appropriation of surface water, no permit or
other documentation is required to appropriate groundwater. Overlying rights
always have priority over appropriative rights.

The Pasadena decision also put forth the doctrine of mutual prescription.
A prescriptive right, analagous to adverse possession of land ("squatter's rights"),
is gained by use, without permission and for at least 5 years, of water rightfully
belonging to some other person. In other words, by just starting to pump (or
divert) water a user is generating a water right. Because the prescription
doctrine, designed to promote productive use of society's resources, applies only
when the rightful owner fails to act to protect his rights (usually by court
action) against injury by the prescripter, the mutual prescription doctrine only
comes into play when a basin is being overdrafted, and pumping by the prescripter
is presumed to injure every overlying owner and appropriator. This has produced
a "race to the pumphouse" where legal action is anticipated in an overdrafted
basin, because the more a person pumps, the more he can expect from the
courts since this doctrine divides the available groundwater in accordance with
how much has historically been used rather than by time of appropriation or
some other means.

The doctrine of mutual prescription was severely limited by the Los Angeles
v. San Fernando decision in 1975. The court suggested that the doctrine cannot
be used unless agreed to by all the parties concerned. Prescriptive rights
cannot be obtained against public utilities or other public entities; therefore,
the private pumper is at a disadvantage. The doctrine of mutual prescription
is still alive when dividing the available water among private users. Many
unanswered questions remain, such as the relative aquifer storage rights of two
public agencies using the same aquifer, etc. Presently, a groundwater user
still needs to protect himself against prescriptive rights by either seeking a
declaratory judgment, obtaining an injunction against the wrongful pumping of
the prescripter, or pumping as much as he can during the period of prescription
(a wasteful practice). It is not clear whether an overlying right which has,
never been used can be lost by prescription or not.


Schneider (9) gives three legal alternatives in the face of the inconsistent
and incomplete groundwater law that has evolved in California. The first,


'0 ,

;* ,. **-.

,ii "7X ~


/ j

0, -r

It -


FIG. 7 Water districts in the Tulare Lake Basin. (10)


which has been practiced in the Tulare Lake Basin, is the "do nothing"
alternative. Even though the basin has been in a state of overdraft for many
years, no one has taken any legal action. Thus, as the water table has been
lowered, the cost of irrigating with groundwater has risen; consequently, the
economic cost may limit the water withdrawn as it becomes too expensive for
some irrigators to pump.

The second option is to seek formal court adjudication, in which a suit is
filed and the courts are asked to decide the rights of all groundwater users
within the basin. To do this, the court must define safe yield and the quantities
of water to be allocated to each water user. The courts have encouraged
physical solutions to the problems whereby imported surface water is used in
conjunction with groundwater to satisfy all of the existing needs, and the
pattern of groundwater pumping is adjusted to equalize the water demands.
Many planners are disillusioned with adjudication because of the great expense
and the length of time required. Litigation over the basins involved in the
Los Angeles v. San Fernando case has dragged on for over 40 years, and is
still not finally resolved. Another case illustrating this difficulty is the Mojave
River adjudication, which was given up in 1976 after 10 years of negotiation,
and after costing about $700,000 over the first five years. The "straw that
broke the camel's back" was the Los Angeles v. San Fernando decision, limiting
the mutual prescription doctrine.

The third legal approach to groundwater management is creating organi-
zations or water districts. California law admits two kinds of organizations,
the general act district and the special act district, several areas, most notably
the Orange County Water District, have been created by special state legislation
and empowered to levy pump taxes to manage the groundwater basin. Other
areas are free to establish water districts under the general district acts,
although there are some disadvantages to this approach. For example, the
district must have control over enough of the aquifer to manage it. an enormous
number of general and special act districts have been established; 'more than
150 water-managing districts of various types exist in the Tulare Lake Basin
alone, some of which are shown in Figure 7.

Thus, it is clear that the legal obstacles to effective groundwater manage-
ment are formidable. In the Tulare Lake Basin, it might be practical to use
the joint powers agreement whereby existing districts join together to form an
overall organization, but this organization cannot exercise any power that is
not present in all the consituent districts. Another alternative would be to
form a "super district" under a general district act; however, this is probably
less feasible than the joint powers agreement because of the local sentiment
in support of each individual agency and distrust of centralized power. The
process of adjudication in this instance would probably be the most complex
ever attempted in California.


Presently, the technical alternatives) for basin-wide management are being,
refined and legal research is being conducted to see what approach would be
the most likely to succeed. Subsequently, an institutional analysis will be
conducted to consider the framework from which basin conjunctive water use
can be effected. In most cases of this nature, the legal and institutional
aspects dominate; however, they are often not given the proper emphasis.



The Tulare Lake Basin study is attempting to correct this by emphasizing these
non-engineering aspects and the investigators are prepared to compromise the
physical (technical) solutions to meet the legal and institutional constraints.
The chance for success is not great, but some of the richest agricultural land
in the United States is at stake, so the effort will continue.


Appendix I

1. Anderson, D.B., Riparian Water Rights in California, Background and
Issues, Staff Paper No. 4, Governor's Commission to Review California
Water Rights, November 1977.

2. California Department of Water Resources, California's Groundwater, Bulletin
No. 118, September 1975.

3. Environmental Impact Planning Corp., San Joaquin Valley Interagency
Drainage Program Environmental Assessment, prepared for the State
Water Resources Control Board, Oct. 1976 Aug. 1977.

4. Glazer, M., "California Ground Water Public Policy Issues", Proceedings
of the Eleventh Biennial Conference on Ground Water, California Water
Resources Center Report No. 41, November 1977.

5. Helweg, 0.3., "A Nonstructural Approach to Control Salt Accumulation
in Ground Water", Ground Water, Vol. 15, No. 1, Jan. Feb. 1977

6. Interagency Drainage Program Committee, San Joaquin Valley Interagency
Drainage Program, Progress Report No. 1, October 1976, 1490 W. Shaw
Avenue, Suite F, Fresno, CA. 93711.

7. Lee, C.T., The Transfer of Water Rights in California, Background and
Issues, Staff Paper, No. 5, Governor's Commission to Review Water
Rights Law, December 1977.

8. Parsons, P.S. and C.O. McCorkle, 3r., A Statistical Picture of California's
Agriculture, Circular 459, California Agricultural Experiment Station
Extension Service, 1974.

9. Schneider, A.3., Groundwater Rights in California, Background and Issues,
Staff Paper No. 2, Governor's Commission to Review California Water
Rights Law, 3uly 1977.

10. State Water Resources Control Board, Water Quality Control Plan Report,
Tulare Lake Basin (5D), IV parts, August 1975.



Verne H. Scott, M. ASCE-/
Joseph C. Scalmanini, M. ASCE-

This paper is developed out of experience, primarily in Northern
California, with the approach to groundwater management at the local
level and associated successes and failures. It sets forth ideals
that may approach fantasies. It deals with the facts in the form
of possibilities, constraints, and opportunities. It illustrates
results by several case studies. It concludes with suggestions and
challenges for the future.


A fantasy setting forth the ideal would describe groundwater
management at the local level as:

defined and understood

encouraged by national, regional, and local policies or laws

implemented by consistent and coherent decisionmaking at the
local level

involving incentives

having a long and successful experience record

including consistent evaluation

capable of extrapolation to all areas hoping to capitalize on the
optimal values of surface and groundwater management.

P- professor of Water Science and Civil Engineering, University of
California, Davis, California 95616.

/Associate Development Engineer, University of California, Davis,
California 95616.



In simple terms, proper groundwater management will involve short-
and long-range plans for efficient and coordinated use of the ground-
water resources.

This concept is universally supported in principle at the local
level. A difficulty arises, however, when specific plans and subsequent
implementations are developed.

Groundwater management is much like land use in involving questions
of jurisdiction. Regional and local entities have difficulty in re-
sponding to policies and management problems associated with ground-
water management, particularly when there are questions of scarcity,
efficiency, effectiveness, and the legal, institutional, and environ-
mental aspects within which groundwater resources are assessed, evalu-
ated, distributed, and used. The framework is extremely complicated,
raising equity, legal, and contractual issues entirely aside from the
technical efficiency with which the water resource is to be -used.

There are traditional concerns at the local level. Will ground-
water management require formal agreements or contracts, regulations,
a pump tax or other forms of taxation, controls, or other institutional
or legal constraints?

From a technical viewpoint, forecasts of water supplies to meet
increasing demands indicate further jeopardy of groundwater resources.
It is not uncommon for degradation of groundwater and/or the intrusion
of seawater to precede recognition of the facts by some years, let alone
the alleviation or prevention of further damage.

On the other hand, groundwater management decisions are influenced
by powerful social, economic, and political forces. They include con-
flicts among limited fiscal resources; demand for public services, job
opportunities, pollution control, and recreation; and agricultural and
urban development. The pressures of unprecedented urbanization,
particularly in California, provoke new questions of control, juris-
diction, and management. Recent voter reaction in California is
evidence of doubt about support for government programs, another fact
to be dealt with in groundwater management, for managements costs must
be balanced by revenues, generally obtained from taxes of one type or

Another fact is a strong sense of absolutism in the right of indi-
vidual land owners to use their property (including the underlying
groundwater) in a manner suitable to and accountable only to them.

Representatives of urban and agricultural sectors find difficulty
in agreeing on economic values and returns, environmental impacts and
enhancement objectives, and social goals that can be achieved by joint
action of both interests.


There is, on the other hand, increasing emphasis on integrated
planning, management, and use of surface and subsurface waters.
Interest is also growing in greater interagency involvement in planning,
management, and transfer of water. The usual impediments of state and/
or federal laws or other major constraints are being questioned and
changes sought.

Although local groundwater management is similar to other manage-
ment programs, local jurisdictions and entities have difficulty in
establishing and implementing certain basic principles. Reasons include
a strong feeling that management is not necessary or a concern that
local jurisdiction may be overridden by a higher authority or that it
is exceeding its authority. Fiscal resources to fund local programs and
facilities are largely derived from property taxes, a very sensitive
area (particularly in California). Often there is a lack of necessary
expertise and manpower to develop and carry out programs. Further,
many local officials are confused by information that is from a variety
of sources and is often speculative as well as factual. In addition,
local entities have been unable to develop a data management program to
serve as a basis for developing a consistent operational plan. There
is often skepticism of the value of powerful and analytical methods
that can aid in predicting the impacts of various management schemes.


Management at the local level requires recognition that a ground-
water resource can fulfill at least five functions. First, it provides
water that can be extracted regularly (say, on an annual basis) over an
extended period. Second, it can provide water above the annual amount
during drought years (drawn upon much like any other reserve held as an
emergency source of supply). Third, a groundwater basin can serve as
a reservoir for storage of water recharged either naturally or artifi-
cially. Fourth, it can serve as a source of water not generally con-
sidered to be suitable or usable for traditional uses such as agricul-
ture, industry, or domestic purposes. An example would be saline waters
for cooling a powerplant. And fifth, a groundwater basin can serve as
a sink for disposing of water considered undesirable for conventional
purposes or use on the surface.


Local groundwater management requires carefully considered
"objectives" that are both micro and macro in scope. Factors that
should be considered include but are not necessarily limited to:

the hydrogeologic characteristics of the ground water or area
of concern.

the status of present water management programs and any legal,
contractual, or judicatory arrangements affecting the availa-
bility, transmission, supply, and delivery of water.

the present and probable future availability of supplemental
water supplies for the area.


present and probable future reasonable and beneficial uses of
water, anticipating alternative strategies for the economic,
environmental, and social development of the area.

the groundwater conditions that could reasonably be achieved
through alternate management plans, including the no action
plan, and the consequences of those plans in technical, economic,
environmental, and legal terms that are as discrete as possible.

a specific implementation plan for achieving groundwater condi-
tions, including the sequence and timing of actions to be taken.

a periodic review of the groundwater management and its objec-
tives in a regular and systematic matter, with ample public in-
put and comment.

As straightforward as those factors may seem, decisionmakers in the
local political arena have difficulty in maintaining a perspective of
and a consistent pursuit of them while responding to political ramifi-
cations and implications.

Management Approaches

How can groundwater management be accomplished at the local level?
Essentially by the combined management efforts of the individual well
owner and by some type of local or regional entity.

Groundwater management by the individual well owner can be accom-
plished by:

careful assessment of water requirements, including alternative
supplies, seasonal requirements, quality considerations, and
maximum short- and long-term needs.

location, design, construction, and development of new wells in
accordance with modern design criteria to meet specific water-
supply needs.

operation of new and old wells individually or in groups to
achieve maximum efficiency and minimum energy consumption.

monitoring well and pump performance, maintaining operating
records, and analyzing the records annually for discovering any
needed changes.

rehabilitation of wells as required to improve performance.

In addition, well owners who also have access to surface supplies
can assess their annual water supplies in such a way as to make optimal
use of surface supplies during wet periods and rely on groundwater
during dry years.

Regional management by local entities can be accomplished with
proper planning and consideration of technical details together with
public participation and input. It is difficult, to be sure, since


geologic and hydrologic boundaries of groundwater basins do not normally
coincide with the boundaries of the political entities that might need
to manage the groundwater. Regional management often includes a
variety of jurisdictions, including cities, counties, water districts,
and other local entities.

Traditionally, groundwater management on a regional basis has been
in response to crisis situations-such as drastic lowering of water
levels, unacceptable deterioration of quality, notable land subsidence,
or critical shortage of surface supplies. The traditional approaches at
the local level are to ignore them, enter into extended negotiations,
or initiate costly litigation.

Effective regional groundwater management at the local level con-
sists of setting policy and developing and implementing an action plan,
preferably before a crisis occurs. The policy should establish long-
range technical goals that consider economic principles, social values,
environmental considerations, and institutional constraints. The plan
should include specific objectives such as determining the quantity and
quality of the groundwater resource, developing technically feasible
management alternatives, evaluating those alternatives, and implementing
appropriate action. The action plan is most valuable if there is regu-
lar monitoring of groundwater and surface-water conditions, with pro-
vision of periodic updating and revision.


A groundwater management plan, based on technical data and infor-
mation, is normally developed in response to a severe problem, such as
overdraft. Often, however, the plan ends up as a dust-covered document
forgotten on the shelf of the technician or decisionmaker.

For example, overdraft was part of the justification used in es-
tablishing the technical and economic feasibility of the California
Water Project, and overdraft was to be reduced or eliminated by import-
ing surface water. The project was approved, constructed, and imple-
mented with some water being transported and distributed to offset the
overdraft. Nevertheless, the overdraft today is nearly the same as the
overdraft that led to the state project and importation of surface water
--if not greater.

The basic problem is that in spite of overdraft and the availa-
bility of imported water, the imported water is generally more expen-
sive than local groundwater. Hence, unless a local water agency,
county, or some other entity provides an incentive such as equalizing
the cost, well owners continue to use the less expensive pumped water,
overdrafting the groundwater supply, and the imported water is sold
to landowners who lack an alternate supply for developing previously
unirrigated land or urban and industrial complexes. The imported
water thus fails to reduce excessive pumping or to meet the objectives
of a sound groundwater management plan.



Another influence on the development of groundwater management
plans at the local level is one of nomenclature and definition.
Technicians, such as engineers, obviously claim to know what they are
talking about when describing the problem and proposing solutions. On
the other hand, the decisionmakers, i.e., members of the board of direc-
tors of a water district, supervisors, elected officials of a city, etc.,
are laymen frequently floundering in a morass of technical terms and
attempting to make decisions on the basis of either limited or no
knowledge as to what technical terms are important and what they mean.

Several important examples follow:

A "local entity" can be any city, county, public utility, water
district or company, or other special district which is or can be
authorized to develop and manage groundwater supplies. In some cases
an entity may have member units which need to be carefully defined and
designated or allocated by some higher board or legislation to manage

"Groundwater" needs to be carefully defined as to its fresh and
saline content.

"A groundwater basin or area" needs to be identified geologically
and hydrologically such that the characteristics of the material in
which groundwater is stored, transmitted, and yielded have specific
quantification. Within the groundwater basin or area, the amount of
"available supply" or "usable storage" needs to be defined. Of greater
importance is determination of the perennial or "safe" yield, that is,
the quantity of groundwater which can be withdrawn annually without
sustained lowering of water levels or other deteriorating or unsatis-
factory conditions such as water-quality degration or land subsidence.
Long-as well as short-term quantities need to be carefully expressed
to reduce confusion as to the storage and transmission characteristics
under so-called "normal" or "drought" conditions.

The word "management" often serves as a block toward progress at
the local level, since there are numerous possible meanings and defini-
tions. Normally, it would mean that a local entity or group of entities
has sufficient power to respond to problems of water supply, long-term
overdraft, water-quality degradation, and subsidence, and actually con-
trol those conditions where they exist. That normally leads to an
agreement that involves the "conjunctive" use of surface and ground-
water supplies. Quite simply, this means coordinated operation of a
groundwater basin or area such that the groundwater is used more in
years of below-average precipitation, when surface supplies are less
than normal, and surface water is used in years of above-average pre-
cipitation to allow the groundwater levels to recover via natural and/or
artificial recharge.

Having "objectives" in groundwater management means that operating
limits have been set by the local entity to achieve optimum levels of
pumping, replenishment, conjunctive use, and other activities.


An "implementation plan" means that a discrete set of actions is
included in a groundwater management plan, providing a schedule of
actions, measurements, evaluation, and assessments such that the ground-
water objectives are confirmed or modified in accordance with new infor-
mation and revised objectives.


Comprehensive and timely data are fundamental to groundwater
management. These data begin with a determination of the geologic and
hydrologic characteristics and conditions of the groundwater basins and
area. While judgment is a major factor in determining the amount of
data required, other basic data such as present and forecast land use
and water requirements, surface water supplies, pumpage, energy consump-
tion, and water quality contribute to a determination of the need for
groundwater management plans. A model, incorporating data to evaluate
the quantity and/or quality of a groundwater basin, can be a useful
aid in decisionmaking relative to groundwater management.


If a groundwater management plan is approved and set in motion,
continuity must be sustained by a technically competent persons) with
adequate resources to fulfill the management objectives. Considering
the complexity of the problems involved and the interrelations with
other resource and social economic problems, it appears imperative that
the executive management of a groundwater management plan have appro-
priate status, compensation, identification, and staff in order to
achieve the objectives. It is also imperative that all subdivisions of
the local entity are consulted and included in the management scheme as
active participants. In other words, involvement of those who have a
stake in the outcome is essential.

Analysis and Evaluation

Each local groundwater management entity should prepare a regular
comprehensive report. This report should detail the management's
authority and actions, and analyze and evaluate the unit's performance
in terms of meeting the management objectives and implementation plans.

The report should not be an "in-house" document. It should
be prepared with the input of supporting members or other individuals
who have substantive data and information. It should also be distrib-
uted as widely as possible to inform the public of results and to
solicit comments.

Experience by some local management programs indicates frustration
and lack of patience with this process. They will indicate that input
is negligible, interest low, and public attendance at meetings is
often little more than the officials present to present the report.
Nevertheless, there is a public responsibility, and unexpected positive
results and communication can often be established in this process.


Institutional Facts

Over the years there have been symptoms of groundwater problems
and some general awareness by the public. Unfortunately, interest and
stimulation have been insufficient to develop appropriate legislative
measures for dealing with management on a more systematic basis at
either a national, state, or regional level.

In the early 1960's a committee of the California State Legislature
examined groundwater problems and reported that problems were developing
but that there was no clear need for legislation or institutional
arrangement at either local or state levels.

Experience since then has changed that state of affairs as
concern has increased particularly in specific areas. While attention
was focused on pollution and protection of other resources, particularly
surface water, little has been done at the local, state, or national
level to deal with groundwater, a major resource of tremendous com-
plexity and value, and in some cases, nonrenewable.

Legislative bodies in several states have, from time to time,
declared the importance of groundwater and the responsibility of the
state to protect it in the interests of the public. Yet, these concerns
have not been translated into local action unless critical conditions of
overdraft, land subsidence, seawater intrusion or other quality degra-
dation have occurred.

In other words, groundwater management at the local level in
California and the U.S. in general is still in its infancy. Part of the
problem lies in the nature of water laws, particularly in California.
Other reasons include a lack of comprehensive legislative guidelines or
programs along with other criteria and requirements pertaining to such
details as the location, drilling, construction, and operation of wells.

In a few cases, successful local management programs have been con-
ceived and developed in response to critically defined problems. Two
main approaches have included: 1) formation of a water district, with
definition of area and powers to carry out a groundwater program; and
2) management as decreed by the court, in which powers of management
and operation are delegated in some manner, such as a water master.

An outstanding example of local groundwater management in
California is the Orange County Water District, authorized under
specific legislative action. The District manages its program through
powers that require water-production statements by pumpers, a pump tax,
spreading of water for artificial recharge, and the option of using
other surface water or groundwater while maintaining water rights.

Another outstanding example of local groundwater management in
California is the Santa Clara Valley Water District where regulation
of surface flows, precipitation enhancement, importation of supple-
mental water, and recycling of treated wastewater are combined with an
advanced program of artificial groundwater recharge via water spreading


and injection to control problems of overdraft, land subsidence, and
saline water intrusion.

A successful adjudication plus water-master groundwater management
program is illustrated by the results of the court's adjudication of the
San Gabriel case (10). In this case, the water master is a nine-member
board appointed by the court to carry out the court's stipulations in-
volving assessments, control on the basin's yield, and authority to
distribute the yield of the basin to the overlying users.

Another example in California is a decision by the California
Supreme Court recently rendered in the adjudication of Los Angeles v.
San Fernando (10). While yet to be tested by experience, the decision
will have effects on mutual prescription, overdraft, and conjunctive
use of surface and groundwater.

Groundwater Rights

The early history of water rights in the west, particularly in
California, was based largely on English common law. The basic prin-
ciple was that rights to water were part and parcel of title to the land
adjoining the water source.

Criticisms of the institutions of California water law are as
old as the institutions themselves. The institutions have been around
a long time, and so have the water laws. In fact, most of California's
laws pertaining to surface water go back to the late 1800's, with
few changes made since 1917.

Groundwater was first used extensively for irrigation in
California in about 1868, when artesian aquifers were penetrated to
irrigate lands near Compton. By the 1890's more than 2,000 wells were
supplying water to about 40,000 acres in California. Much additional
development and stress on groundwater were results of the drought
experienced in the 1890's.

By the early 1900's, however, increased use and competition for
groundwater led to disputes. In California the classic groundwater
case, settled by the California Supreme Court in 1903, was the of
Katz v. Walkinshaw et al., which established the general principle of
a "correlative right." That right belonged to the owner of land over-
lying the source of water for use on the overlying land. There was to
be a sharing of the groundwater among overlying sources on a correla-
tive basis. Any surplus beyond the needs of the overlying owners was
then subject to appropriation by others. Thus, the doctrine of correl-
ative rights essentially recognized both the "riparian" and "appropria-
tive" types of rights attached to surface waters.

While California has continued to use its rule of correlative
rights, most of the western states followed examples of New Mexico and
others and established a groundwater appropriation doctrine. Although
these doctrines appear to be rather simple, continued remolding of
water-related institutions to the need of people living in the western
environment is being forced by increasing demands for water, falling
water levels, the increasing cost of energy, and other critical factors.


California has taken a progressive step in the organization of the
Governor's Commission to review California Water Rights Law. The intent
is to examine all current laws and codes systematically, with the ex-
pectation that appropriate legislation will be developed. At the local
level two important concepts have already arisen regarding such legis-
lation. One pertains to the definition of "overlying use," and the
other to the priorities of "groundwater appropriators."

Under current California law, overlying use is given preference.
Groundwater pumpers who pump water from beneath the surface of their
land and put that water to use on their overlying land are considered
to be engaged in overlying use. Thus, farmers who pump from beneath
their farmland and apply the groundwater to irrigate their fields are
engaged in overlying use. Similar industrial uses are characterized as
overlying. However, use by municipalities and other public entities is
treated as nonoverlying or appropriativee" of surplus except in the
relatively infrequent situation where the land served with the ground-
water is owned by the public entity. As a consequence, a homeowner who
pumps groundwater from his own well has the preferred position of an
overlying user, whereas one who is served with groundwater pumped by
a public entity from its wells is merely the beneficiary of an appro-
priative right. That is the case even though, in both cases, the water
comes from the same groundwater basin and will, after use, replenish
that basin in exactly the same manner. Therefore, a fundamental ques-
tion is whether "overlying use" should be defined to include any use
on land overlying the basin from which the groundwater is extracted.
Such a change would certainly expand the definition and appear to pro-
vide for a more equitable system of groundwater management.

A related question is whether there should be a consistent limit on
the use of water by industrial overlying users of groundwater. At
present, it is generally interpreted that an overlying use by homeowners
and agriculturists carries natural limits.

Another problem plaguing the management of groundwater at the
local level is the question of how, if at all, to recognize the rule of
first in time, first in right. Although that rule is simplistic and
clear, it does not necessarily indicate how it should be applied.

Another important issue is the question whether the legislature
should adopt a policy requiring a statewide program to identify ground-
water resource-management areas. Once identified, it would then be a
question whether technical details and management should be administered
by local entities within the framework of statewide policy. Although
that could be interpreted to mean that local groundwater management
authorities have the primary responsibility for protection and manage-
ment of groundwater resources, they are being pressured by the power
and jurisdiction of the state to exercise primary interest on behalf
of the state in connection with the protection, management, and reason-
able and beneficial use of groundwater resources. If local interests
fail to manage these resources adequately, in the interpretation and
jurisdiction of the state authorities, it would appear that the state
could and would assume the responsibility.



The Current Situation

In most cases groundwater is drawn from a "common pool resource."
It is extracted by overlying owners without consideration of a correla-
tive share to the common supply.

In a local area the problem continues to be a minor one as long as
extraction does not exceed natural and artificial replenishment. Beyond
that point, however, pumpers face the increasing problem of determining
whether it is beneficial to increase the depths of wells or pump settings
and to continue to withdraw waters despite the lower water levels,
increased energy consumption, and greater costs.

The problem of lowering water levels is generally one of overdraft,
accentuated by mutual interference of wells, a phenomenon that accel-
erates during periods of more intensive land development and periods of
drought. The latter case is particularly acute since pumpage increases
when surface supplies are below normal. Under the correlative principle
a landowner on one side of the fence is not restricted from competing
with the production and withdrawals of a well constructed by the owner
on the other side of the same fence. Some may argue that this type of
essentially "no management" will lead to a check and balance dictated by
supply and demand, ability to pay, and/or adjustment in use.

In some cases, attempts are made to increase replenishment and
offset overdraft through artificial recharge. That requires a supple-
mental surface supply and imposes additional costs.

Traditionally, the approach by local areas has been to depend on
the availability of a supplemental water supply to meet increasing
water demands, minimize overdrafts, and make up differences created
during drought years. This dependency, however, is reaching a point
of diminishing returns. The costs and justification of more expensive
surface reservoirs, transmission, and distribution facilities are
rapidly decreasing the potential and opportunity for developing
supplemental surface supplies that will essentially "bail out" over-
drawn groundwater supplies.

Adjudication as a means of groundwater management has many pitfalls
and is extremely costly, as experience has already indicated. Basic
problems include identifying: the parties and areas involved; ground-
water conditions; sources of supply; previous rights; and how the costs
of an expensive litigation process are to be shared.

Case Studies

Several examples are presented to illustrate extremes in developing
local groundwater management programs.

Thomas (14) in a recent paper on cyclic storage cites nine speci-
fic theses in which the role and opportunity for groundwater management
is possible and where success can be achieved under local-level develop-
ment. He cites, as a primary thesis of argument for cyclic storage or


conjunctive use, the variations of patterns of precipitation in the
Central Valley of California, where irregularity is the dominant
characteristics rather than the norm. He comments that "California
weather, like its people, tends towards extremes: Stream flow is
generally either excessive or deficient and has been 'normal' (within
20% of the long-term average) in fewer than 30% of the past seventy-two
years." He indicates that conjunctive use of surface and groundwater
was recognized as "essential in the California Water Plan" as early as
1957, but that when it came to implementation the principle agency of
the State (the Department of Water Resources) "could find no way."

He cites further that "groundwater rights are major obstacles to
cyclic storage required for effective water management." Groundwater
development and use are almost entirely on private property, by private
and local enterprise. Groundwater rights are recognized as real proper-
ty and have constitutional protection against evasion or appropriation.

Another example is in Yolo County, California, in the central part
of the state, where a comprehensive analysis of the groundwater re-
sources was authorized by the Board of Supervisors. Results (12) indi-
cated that cumulative reduction in groundwater storage over the past
30 years amounted to approximately 500,000 acre-feet and annual over-
draft had increased to nearly 40,000 acre-feet per year. And the prob-
lem could increase in light of increasing water requirements. Implemen-
tation of a groundwater management program appeared essential. Yet, in
spite of these technical details and the persistent recommendations of
water resources advisors, plans have not been developed. In fact,
strong debates have been waged by individual water interests that
planned supplemental supplies would meet increasing requirements, off-
set overdraft and eliminate the need for additional action.

On the other hand, in a district not far north, a board of direc-
tors facing the problem of rationing during the recent drought supported
a proposal of several landowners to permit them to commingle ground-
water pumped from their own wells, with district water to serve addi-
tional acreage. In this case, the board adopted an agreement to be
negotiated on a case-by-case basis, which would allow commingling but
require the well owner to meter the water pumped into the district
system and meter the water used.

A fourth case involved the question of transferring groundwater
from one basin to another. Arguments can be made for reasonable and
beneficial use of groundwater transferred from a region of excess
supply to areas of deficiency and need. Experience during the past
year, again in Yolo County, illustrated this problem.

An attempt was made by a large water district in the lower end of
the'San Joaquin Valley of California to negotiate the availability and
transfer of groundwater from a private farming operation 300 miles to
the north. The need of the southern district was to prevent a loss of
several million dollars of perennial crops, an expected result of no
water deliveries from the State Water Project if the drought continued
another year. A plan was developed between the two parties which
called for the pumping of groundwater from the private owner's land


into a natural channel and then through facilities of the State Water
Project. It was the first known plan if its kind in California.

The State Water Resources Control Board (4) heard both technical
and emotional evidence, arguments that the transfer was a reasonable
experiment under the extreme circumstances of drought and potential
loss, and prospects of indemnification and payment for damages.
However, the Board did not endorse the transfer, citing potential over-
draft, the possible development of quality and hydraulic-flow problems
in the state's Delta area, and a potential adverse effect on nearby
wells and rights to groundwater.

The response of several local areas to both the proposal and the
decision was not one of moving in a positive and direct way to consider
developing a management plan, but, rather, to enact ordinances restrict-
ing any groundwater export. That was done without the benefit of data
and analysis showing either positive or adverse effects on local
groundwater conditions and general water resources.

The case did, however, confirm that there are complex institutional
and legal questions that cannot be resolved by superficial examination
of hydrogeologic conditions. Nevertheless, this type of transfer in a
long-term perspective would seem to have considerable merit and one in
which a local district could generate "a profit" during years of favor-
able groundwater conditions that could be used to offset adverse effects
during years when the transfer might in fact lower water levels or cause
other local detrimental impacts.

A final case study (13) comes from an analysis of the groundwater
conditions of a relatively small public utility which provides water
supply and waste treatment to a region bordering the south shore of
Lake Tahoe, California, an area heavily taxed by population growth and
recreational development. The district meets water requirements through
a combination of treated surface water and a series of wells. Relatively
new in the water supply business, the district developed many questions
regarding surface and groundwater, principal among which were the ex-
tent and dependency of groundwater and the relative interaction between
the groundwater and Lake Tahoe. Although not stated directly, there
were several legal implications, such as the maintenance of the water
balance and levels of the Lake and commitments to downstream irrigation
and Indian water rights supplied by releases from the Lake.

Due to limited data, the exact extent of the groundwater resource
could not be determined. However, it was concluded that groundwater
storage and quality had historically remained fairly constant, with
very localized changes taking place. Further, it was determined
that while the Lake certainly exerts an influence on groundwater
levels, subsurface flow had remained in a direction toward the Lake
and groundwater was not recharged by the Lake.

Based on the technical findings, it now appears that the district
is moving in a positive direction to develop water resource management
plans to optimize the continued conjunctive use of both surface and
groundwater supplies within its jurisdiction.



The Future

It is clear that in many areas of the country, particularly the
arid west, groundwater problems are severe and extensive. The symptoms
are ample, and in some cases long-term records verify this condition.

Legislation is clearly needed that will enable and encourage local
entities to manage groundwater in a conjunctive and coordinated way.
Yet, even without such legislation, groundwater management can proceed
at the local level without complicated and immediate legislation. In
other words, informal coordinated planning-type efforts can move
in the right direction.

It appears that in many cases local groundwater management can
proceed under powers that are already available, particularly if
specific groundwater problems can be defined. Although some type of
formal management plan would seem preferable, local entities can
initiate a less formal exchange of information, which may include
pointing out the problems of an increasing number of wells and the
potential of lowering water levels through mutual interference. In
this way an owner may modify his leveling plans and water-distribution
facilities and the location of this well so as to minimize such influ-
ences. It is also possible through analytical methods to calculate in
advance predicted levels of drawdown and mutual interference of wells
operated under various schemes of operation.

It is also clear that adjudication through the court system will
be used increasingly as a mechanism to resolve disputes. That will
lead to long and costly cases, however, and in some situations to
rulings by a court that may be difficult to interpret or to implement
by allocating rights in a manner consistent with technical details and

A good groundwater management plan is initiated by a statement of
policy that expresses the intent to manage by the local entity. It
proposes an implementation plan that has included alternative actions.
These may include the coordinated use of surface and groundwater
supplies; importation of supplemental surface supplies for direct use in
groundwater recharge; seasonal, annual, and longer use periods of well
fields that may be remote from the area of water demand; artificial
groundwater recharge in a variety of methods consistent with land utili-
zation; modified patterns of pumping; and possible exchange of surface
and groundwater supplied, depending upon specific quality requirements,
status, and predicted trends. It will also include the role of ground-
water management alleviating the impact of drought. Finally, the de-
velopment of the policy and plan requires public participation and in-
put that involves understanding, support, and incentives.



1. Archibald, M.D., "Appropriative Water Rights in California," Staff
Paper No. 1, prepared for the Governor's Commission to Review
California Water Rights Law, May 1977.

2. California Department of Water Resources Bulletin 16074, "The
California Water Plan Outlook in 1974,' 1974.

3. California Department of Water Resources Bulletin 118,
"California's Groundwater," 1975.

4. California State Water Resources Control Board Decision 1474,
September 22, 1977.

5. California Water Code, Sections 12992, 12922.1.

6. Clyde, E.W., et al., "Administration Allocation of Water,"
prepared for the National Water Commission, July 1, 1971.

7. Dunbar, Robert G., "The Adaptation of Groundwater Control
Institutions to the Arid West," Agricultural History 51(4)
October 1977.

8. Lee, C.T., "Legal Aspects of Water Conservation in California,"
Staff Paper No. 3, prepared for the Governor's Commission to
Review California Water Rights Law, August 1977.

9. Mann, D.E., "Inter-basin Water Transfer--A Political and
Institutional Analysis," prepared for the National Water
Commission, March 1972.

10. Schneider, A.J., "Groundwater Rights in California," Staff Paper
No. 2, prepared for the Governor's Commission to Review
California Water Rights Law, July 1977.

11. Scott, V.H. and J.C. Scalmanini, "Groundwater Management,"
California Agriculture 31(5) 1977.

12. Scott, V.H. and J.C. Scalmanini, "Investigation of Groundwater
Resources, Yolo County, California," Department of Land, Air and
Water Resources, Water Science and Engineering Paper 2006,
University of California, Davis, September, 1975.

13. Scott, V.H., J.C. Scalmanini, and R.A. Matthews, "Groundwater
Resources of the South Tahoe Public Utility District," Departments
of Land, Air and Water Resources and Geology, Water Science and
Engineering Paper 2007, University of California, May, 1978.

14. Thomas, Harold E., "Cyclic Storage, Where Are You Now?" Vol. 16
No. 1, Groundwater Journal, January-February 1978.

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