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North Central Region Office Programs:
California-Nevada and
Watershed Assessment
Land & Water Use
Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta
Surface Water

North Central Region Office
Department of Water Resources

(916) 376-9600

Street Address:

3500 Industrial Blvd.
West Sacramento, CA 95691

Mailing Address:

PO Box 942836
Sacramento, CA 94236

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Groundwater Quality

California's future depends on protecting groundwater quality. Having groundwater with very poor quality is like having no groundwater at all.

Some groundwater basins bordering the San Francisco Bay and the Delta have experienced saline water intrusion due to over-extraction of groundwater. In a few places in the Sacramento Valley, shallow salt water makes the groundwater unusable. In other areas, elevated levels of naturally occurring boron restrict the type of crops that can be irrigated with groundwater. In some areas, nitrates and other introduced chemicals make the groundwater unfit for domestic use.

CD staff installing water level monitoring equipment DWR's Central District monitors groundwater quality in about 400 wells in Central California to identify areas of poor quality and to track changes in overall groundwater quality. Groundwater quality analyses typically include field measurements (temperature, pH, conductivity), minerals (calcium, magnesium, chloride, etc.) nutrients (phosphorus, nitrate, etc.), minor elements (arsenic, cadmium, iron, etc.), organic compounds (pesticides, petroleum derivatives, etc.), and pathogens (bacteria). The District's groundwater quality data extends back to the early 1950's.
The DWR water quality data can be accessed from the Water Data Library.

Additional Groundwater Quality Links:
Regional Water Quality Control Board - GeoTracker
USGS National Water Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program
CalEPA "A Compilation of Water Quality Goals -August 2003" (PDF, 3.1MB)
Food & Agriculture Organization "Water Quality for Agriculture - 1985"

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