Painful Experience Helps to Chart the Future of Groundwater in Ventura County

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By Felicity Barringer

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The formal birth of new agencies to keep California’s groundwater basins sustainable took place all over the state this summer. Like infants anywhere, dozens of new groundwater sustainability agencies present a range of appearances. Some are placid, some squall. Some have everything they need in order to develop. Some don’t.
How will they develop? That depends on how well pumpers, who rely on groundwater, accept the inevitable restrictions needed under the law requiring sustainable management. Some, particularly farmers, will lose automatic access to the water they want. One water manager said their path to accepting new limits echoes the psychiatrist Elizabeth Kübler Ross’ five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and, finally, acceptance…