Dec 12, 2022Groundwater sustainably and protection of vulnerable domestic wells in California via LandFlex
The California Department of Water Resources, Western United Dairies Foundation, Almond Alliance, Self-Help Enterprises, and the Community Alliance with Family Farmers have introduced LandFlex. This solutions-based program assists vulnerable communities in solving the groundwater crisis related to the drought by protecting domestic wells through preventative fallowing, relieving supply pressures, and providing water supply certainty to critically over-drafted basins.
“Farmers, underrepresented communities and groundwater sustainability agencies (GSA) share a common interest in the immediate ending of groundwater overdraft on lands near vulnerable drinking water wells,” said Anja Raudabaugh, chief executive officer of Western United Dairies. “The LandFlex program is a pilot program providing farmers the flexibility to manage their land through the drought and to provide water security for rural communities.”
The LandFlex program reduces groundwater demand by contracting with farmers to rotationally and temporarily fallow ground in areas deeply dependent on groundwater for domestic well supplies. The price paid per acre-foot of water savings is prioritized based on the enrolled lands’ proximity to domestic wells coupled with the lands’ existing subsidence levels. A crop’s evapotranspiration will be based on local average GSA data.
“LandFlex provides during a fallowing and drought crisis to conserve and leave water in the ground to stabilize aquifers and allow our farmers to stay in operation and have operating capital on a voluntary and annual basis, while supporting our communities and ensuring a secure food supply for next year,” said Aubrey Bettencourt, chief executive officer of the Almond Alliance.
Grant awards will be prioritized on lands experiencing the most severe subsidence due to groundwater depletion and on areas closest to domestic wells that have recently gone dry.
For more information on LandFlex, and to sign up for program updates, visit: https://landflex.org