Journal article

Assessing local planning to control groundwater depletion: California as a microcosm of global issues

Rebecca L Nelson



Groundwater pumping has caused excessive groundwater depletion around the world, yet regulating pumping remains a profound challenge. California uses more groundwater than any other U.S. state, and serves as a microcosm of the adverse effects of pumping felt worldwideland subsidence, impaired water quality, and damaged ecosystems, all against the looming threat of climate change. The state largely entrusts the control of depletion to the local level. This study uses internationally accepted water resources planning theories systematically to investigate three key aspects of controlling groundwater depletion in California, with an emphasis on local-level action: (a) making decisions and engag..

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University of Melbourne Researchers


Funding Acknowledgements

This paper is based on research for a thesis written from 2009 to 2010 at Stanford University's Law School, in pursuit of the degree of Masters of the Science of Law, made possible by the generosity of the General Sir John Monash Foundation (Melbourne, Australia). I thank Michael Wara and Barton (Buzz) Thompson (Stanford University), for their comments and insights on my thesis, Sandford Clark (University of Melbourne), for sharing his wisdom on water law over many years, and the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, for its support for the Comparative Groundwater Law and Policy Program, which grew out of this work. I also thank the many local water agency staff who took the time informally to speak with me about their agencies and respond graciously to my requests for local documents.