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Managing the Groundwater-Surface Water Interface Under California’s New Groundwater Law

Managing the Groundwater-Surface Water Interface Under California’s New Groundwater Law
Product Code: GC20161109
Running Time: 70 minutes
Reward Points: 1
Non-Member Price: $100.00
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Presented by:

Dr. Thomas Harter
University of California, Davis

 The California 2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), for the first time in the state's history, protects beneficial uses of surface water from significant and undesirable impacts due to groundwater pumping. The law also explicitly protects groundwater dependent ecosystems. Under SGMA, local groundwater sustainability agencies (GSAs) must define monitoring networks, minimum thresholds, and measurable objectives to sustain the groundwater-surface water connection and groundwater-dependent ecosystems. Regulations spell out some minimum monitoring requirements, but provide flexibility in how to plan and implement sustainable groundwater-surface water connections. Among the groundwater sustainability objectives prescribed by SGMA, achieving sustainable groundwater-surface water and groundwater-dependent ecosystem objectives may be among the most challenging: California groundwater basins with some of the least prior groundwater management activities are most affected; the dynamics of the interface may cause long and hidden delays in impacts; and management of groundwater-surface water connectivity is uncommon, hence there are no readymade toolboxes to look for. Instruments available to GSAs to assess groundwater-surface water connections and the potential impact from groundwater use and management activities can be broadly categorized into: water level data, water budget information, streamflow data, analytical modeling tools, numerical modeling tools, and statistical tools. 


*Early Registration (by November 4) is $75 for Members* and $100 for Non-Members*
*Registration after November 4 is $100 for Members* and $125 for Non-Members*


Dr. Thomas Harter Thomas Harter is the Robert M. Hagan Endowed Chair for Water Resources Management and Policy at the University of California, Davis. He holds a joint appointment as Professor and Cooperative Extension Specialist in the Department of Land, Air, and Water Resources and is currently chair of the Hydrogolic Sciences Graduate Group. Dr. Harter received his BS and MS in Hydrology from the Universities of Freiburg and Stuttgart, Germany; and his PhD in Hydrology from the University of Arizona.  He spent the first six years of his career with UC Davis at the Kearney Agricultural Research Center in Fresno County, where he became familiar with San Joaquin Valley groundwater management and protection issues and established his research program in agricultural groundwater hydrology - a program he has continued to pioneer over the past 15 years at UC Davis. Currently, he is a member of the American Geophysical Union, the National Groundwater Association, and the Soil Science Society of America. He serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Environmental Quality, and the Vadose Zone Journal; and is serving on the Board of Directors of the Groundwater Resources Association and of the Water Education Foundation. Dr. Harter's research and extension emphasizes the nexus between groundwater and agriculture. His research group focuses on nonpoint-source pollution of groundwater, sustainable groundwater management, groundwater and vadose zone modeling, groundwater resources evaluation under uncertainty, groundwater-surface water interaction, and on contaminant transport. His work uses a range of numerical, statistical, and stochastic modeling approaches and field work to evaluate the impacts of agriculture and human activity on groundwater flow and contaminant transport in complex aquifer and soil systems, and to support development of tools needed in agriculture and by decision- and policy makers to effectively address sustainable groundwater management and water quality issues in agricultural regions. In 2008, Dr. Harter's research and extension program received the Kevin J. Neese Award in recognition of its efforts to engage scientists, regulators, farm advisers, dairy industry representatives, and dairy farmers to better understand the effects of dairy operations on water quality.


Tom McCarthy works for the City of Anaheim as the Water Planning and Resources Manager in the Public Utilities Department.  He also has professional experience working with private firms on water resources and management problems around the world. He is a State of California registered professional civil engineer, as well as a California registered professional geologist. Mr. McCarthy has a Bachelor of Science in Geological Sciences from the University of Oregon and a Master of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of California.

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