An aquifer is a geologic formation that stores, transmits, and yields significant quantities of water to wells or springs.
Aquifers come in two types. Some are formed in the space between porous materials such as sand, gravel, silt or clay and are known as alluvial aquifers or unconfined aquifers. However, in many places in California, there are aquifers beneath a rock layer that does not allow water to permeate in measurable amounts. These are known as confined aquifers.
Every five years the California Department of Water Resources releases an updated version of the California Water Plan— a comprehensive compilation of water data that guides future water policy in the state. The plan is commonly referred to as Bulletin 160.
Gray water, also spelled as grey water, is water that already has been used domestically, commercially and industrially. This includes the leftover, untreated water generated from clothes washers, bathtubs and bathroom sinks.
Unlike California’s majestic rivers and massive dams and conveyance systems, groundwater is out of sight and underground, though no less plentiful. The state’s enormous cache of underground water is a great natural resource and has contributed to the state becoming the nation’s top agricultural producer and leader in high-tech industries.
Integrated Regional Water Management, commonly known as IRWM, aims to collectively manage all aspects of water resources in a region. This approach includes all constituencies, including those that traditionally have been outside of the water planning and policy process such as tribal representatives.
Since World War II and a booming state population that increasingly sought out the great outdoors to relax, the state’s water-based recreational activities have continued to grow more popular and diverse, occurring in a multitude of sources – from swimming pools and spas to beaches, reservoirs, natural lakes and rivers.
Typically, water utilities’ budgets are funded by revenue collected through water and sewer rates. Revenue generated by rates covers the costs of operations, as well as ongoing upgrades and repairs to pipelines, treatment plants, sewers and other water infrastructure.
California’s climate, characterized by warm, dry summers and mild winters, makes the state’s water supply unpredictable. For instance, runoff and precipitation in California can be quite variable. The northwestern part of the state can receive more than 140 inches per year while the inland deserts bordering Mexico can receive less than 4 inches.