Watch CBS News

Groundwater supply could get a boost across the Sacramento area thanks to a new project

New project will boost groundwater storage in Sacramento Valley
New project will boost groundwater storage in Sacramento Valley 02:59

SACRAMENTO- The Regional Water Authority is trying to make groundwater storage in our region bigger by implementing a new method to save water beneath our feet. 

It's called the Sacramento Regional Water Bank, essentially a natural aquifer that spreads out below the Sacramento Valley and foothills. 

Like a bank you can save and withdraw. This water bank makes it possible to deposit and save water during wet times and withdraw it during dry times.

"We have the capacity to store twice the size of Folsom reservoir in terms of additional water supply," Trevor Joseph, Manager of Technical Services at the Regional Water Authority (RWA), said. 

After years of battling the effects of drought and climate change, our region's groundwater is not where it needs to be. 

But with this project, water districts can work on saving more underground. 

"Essentially taking extra surface water supply and using wells and reversing the flow that wells normally operate and inject water into our groundwater aquifer beneath our feet," Joseph said. 

The Water Bank is a system of groundwater wells, pumps and pipelines that allow local water providers to pump out and refill groundwater.   Regional Water Authority

In excess water years, the bank would pull water from the Folsom Reservoir, American River and Sacramento River, but the amount taken would be unnoticeable to many. 

"The amount of water we would be taking is a really small percentage and again it's in a time where there's actually excess flows in the rivers and streams, so we wouldn't be creating any impacts," Joseph said. "Only taking when it's in the condition that there's extra water available and it's not creating any impacts for the environment or downstream users." 

By using existing infrastructure from 20 local water districts such as Folsom, Carmichael, Roseville, Sacramento and others they would be able to store extra water, naturally -- without wasting it. 

Through a system of of groundwater wells, pumps and pipelines that allow local water providers to pump out and refill underground water reserves to serve local water customers.

"We would take that extra surface water supply, so it's not lost out the Golden Gate bridge as it flows out the Delta," Joseph said. 

On average, groundwater makes up 40 percent of the region's water supply. But in drought years it can make up 60 percent. 

Joseph said not having enough could impact groundwater ecosystems and homes that run on well water. 

"If we aren't managing our groundwater sustainably they can be impacted. The water level can drop below those wells and they can be impacted by overpumping," Joseph said. 

The RWA is getting the public's input on how water banking could be expanded through early 2024. With the goal of using the groundwater bank by the middle of next year. People can submit questions and concerns direct to the Regional Water District's website

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.