California Farm Water Success Stories: Groundwater Management in Pajaro Valley

Published: December 8, 2011
Authors: Morgan Levy, Juliet Christian-Smith

Balancing groundwater and surface water use can be complex in regions where neither is abundant. Groundwater is a finite resource, and therefore groundwater must be “recharged” after use or refilled. Therefore, in regions where both surface water and groundwater supplies are essential to maintaining a reliable water supply, water districts must manage the interactions between surface water and groundwater.

The Groundwater Management in Pajaro Valley case study, part of the California Farm Water Success Stories series, describes an innovative water district’s conjunctive use program that follows these principles and an agricultural industry-led group implementing local water conservation efforts, all with the aim of reducing groundwater overdraft in future years.

Download the case study.
Download the Pacific Institute press release.


Dan Balbas of Reiter Berry Farms

Dan Balbas is a berry grower for Reiter Farms, producing berries that are marketed under the Driscolls label. Balbas discusses what farmers and the Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency are doing to address the groundwater problem.

In addition to these success stories, the Pacific Institute and other members of the California Roundtable on Water and Food Supply have launched an Interactive Database and Map which contains more than 30 case studies, including the Pacific Institute’s success stories, and is searchable by location, production type, irrigation method, and stewardship practice.

Read the California Roundtable on Water and Food Supply press release.


– Sustainable Water Management for Urban Agriculture 
– Integrated Regional Water Management: Kings Basin 
– Volumetric Pricing and Conjunctive Use
– Industry-Driven Standards for Water Efficiency
– Managing for Multiple Benefits 
– Smart Irrigation Scheduling
– Groundwater Banking
– Improved Communication, Monitoring, and Measurement
– Recycled Water and Agriculture 
– State and Federal Funding Accelerates Efficiency
– Vegetated Waterways and Riparian Restoration