June 2019
Incentivizing Groundwater Recharge

Groundwater aquifers continue to be depleted as pumping exceeds recharge in many regions of the world, adversely affecting human and environmental systems. Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) is one crucial strategy to bringing these groundwater resources into sustainable balance. However, understanding is sorely lacking about how to effectively incentivize MAR, and how to navigate the institutions relevant to MAR.

This symposium seeks to fill these knowledge gaps, addressing key questions including: Who benefits from groundwater recharge? What conditions are necessary for a recharge project to succeed? How can implementation be incentivized? How should recharge projects be governed? What emerging and novel techniques hold promise for future MAR?

The program will highlight novel ways to achieve groundwater sustainability including: groundwater for augmenting supply, groundwater banking, recharge to jointly manage interconnected groundwater and surface water systems, and novel recharge approaches and emerging methods. Following the symposium, former Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt will give a public lecture on groundwater and management challenges in the West.

Event details: 

Where:     UC Berkeley
When:      Tuesday, September 10, 2019 from 8:30 am - 6:30 pm
RSVP:      Registration  is now available. 

Who should attend:
  • Groundwater managers
  • State and local agency staff
  • Consultants and attorneys
  • NGO representatives
  • Groundwater users
  • Local stakeholders
  • Academics and students
Hosted by:

Sponsored by:

Groundwater-Surface Water and Science Policy

Our water team recently published an article in the top journal Environmental Research Letters that explains where key challenges remain for California's efforts to integrate groundwater and surface water management. The article provides a framework for understanding other efforts to bring legally-driven resource management into line with scientific understanding. The multi-layered nature of policymaking holds lessons for a successful reform effort for California groundwater. Our work illustrates the complexities of reconciling law with science, and highlights the need for continued vigilance and an ongoing focus on implementation of SGMA (see Figure and Legal Planet post).

Conceptual illustration of science policy interfaces. Source: Owen et al. (2019) Environmental Research Letters

Faculty & Staff
In the News

Mike Kiparsky discusses the tragedy of  groundwater mismanagement   in Indonesia with Wired - it's leading to relocation of the capital city.

Nell Green Nylen continues her series on improving California water rights administration and oversight for future droughts. Read her latest Legal Planet post in the series here .


Katie Miller highlights recent actions by the state to clarify beneficial use designations in relation to SGMA and groundwater recharge. Read her Legal Planet post here .

CLEE is dedicated to developing pragmatic policy solutions to critical environmental and energy challenges, and to supporting the education of tomorrow's leaders in this field. If you would like to support these efforts, please consider making a one-time or recurring donation through  our giving portal.