New trading scheme aims to CERF the groundwater wave

Published June 15th, 2017

A pilot scheme which will allow farmers in California’s Oxnard Plain to trade groundwater allocations via a centralised market has been awarded a $1.9 million grant by the USDA, which will enable a second phase to move ahead in October.

The Fox Canyon Groundwater Management Agency approved the pilot, which is being executed by the Center for Economic Research and Forecasting (CERF) at the California Lutheran University.

The programme seeks to mitigate the effects of groundwater depletion following the California drought by allowing agricultural users to transfer unused allocations to other farmers on a commercial basis. Up until now, California law has stated that farmers must use the water available to them, or risk losing access to it in future years.

CERF will now work with The Nature Conservancy to extend the scheme to municipal users, ahead of rolling out the Fox Canyon model to other groundwater basins statewide.