What does it mean to have overdrafted subbasins in the Salinas Valley

Subbasins are groundwater storage areas that provide a critical water source for many communities in the Salinas Valley. Overdraft occurs when the rate of groundwater extraction surpasses the natural recharge rate, leading to a decline in groundwater levels. This unsustainable practice of overdrafting has been ongoing in portions of the Salinas Valley for several decades, with adverse effects that could affect the region’s agricultural economy and communities who depend on groundwater.

When groundwater is overdrafted, the risk of losing a stable groundwater supply grows and measures have to be taken to ensure that water levels recover. The SVBGSA manages and co-manages several subbasins, each of which have a Groundwater Sustainability Plan. Community representatives from each subbasin recommended the sustainability goals included in each Groundwater Sustainability Plan.

Reaching and maintaining groundwater sustainability in the Salinas Valley is critical to meet the needs for all groundwater users including drinking water supplies and irrigation for the region’s large agricultural based economy. Agriculture is the top economic driver in the Salinas Valley. As agriculture is dependent on groundwater for irrigation, the availability of a sustainable supply is critical to maintain a healthy and prosperous local economy.

Although groundwater overdraft poses a significant threat to the Salinas Valley’s water resources, agriculture and communities who depend on groundwater, with the implementation of Groundwater Sustainability Plans , the region has an opportunity to take actions to ensure a secure water future. The SVBGSA is fully committed to managing groundwater to ensure long term sustainability.

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