Byron JohnsonCalifornia’s drought has prompted a massive project to pump millions of gallons a day of groundwater from the ground into a reservoir.
In a proposal released Tuesday, California’s Department of Water Resources (DWR) said the state could get $1.4 billion in federal funds for a “new underground aquifer” in California.
The proposal would create a $100 million groundwater storage facility in the San Joaquin Valley that would be the first in the nation.
It’s designed to hold up to 6 million acre-feet of water for drinking, irrigation and farming.
The DWR, which has been working with local governments and the California Coastal Commission, said the underground aquifers will hold at least 5 billion gallons of water per day, about 25 percent of the total amount pumped in the state during the current drought.
That is more than enough to fill nearly 10 million homes, it said.
The plan comes as state lawmakers have been considering a proposal to build a tunnel to pump more groundwater out of the state.
In October, California Gov.
Gavin Newsom (D) and a legislative committee approved a bill that would create the $1 billion reservoir.
The drought has forced a halt to the construction of a pipeline that would carry the water to the reservoirs.
But the DWR said that’s unlikely to happen under the new proposal.
California’s Department for Water Resources said the $100-million project is not a permanent solution to the drought.