Cover of the Report showing a stream, animals, and a diagram of a well next to a stream.

Shallow Wells & Streamflow: What you need to know

Jul 20, 2021 at 8:00am

California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Groundwater is a major water source for many Californians. In addition to being one of the primary sources of agricultural water use throughout the state, approximately 33 million Californians, including most rural inhabitants, use groundwater for drinking or residential uses. Additionally, California contains many Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems -- important plant or animal communities that require groundwater to meet some or all of their water needs. Unsustainable groundwater use (i.e., pumping more groundwater than what is replenished) can not only lower groundwater levels, requiring deeper wells and higher pumping costs for landowners, but can also degrade important groundwater-dependent habitat supporting imperiled plants, animals, and fish. One specific mechanism through which these impacts materialize is via streamflow depletion caused by groundwater pumping of shallow, near-stream wells.

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