"Court Rulings Give States New Power to Protect Groundwater"

"In the space of a few weeks, judges in Idaho, Nevada and Montana have altered the landscape for conserving dwindling aquifers."

"After years of dangerous decline in the nation’s groundwater, a series of developments in Western states indicate that state and federal officials may begin tightening protections for the dwindling resource.

In Nevada, Idaho and Montana, a string of court decisions have strengthened states’ ability to restrict overpumping of groundwater. California is considering penalizing local officials for draining their aquifers. And the White House has asked scientists who focus on groundwater to advise how the federal government can help.

“This is truly exciting,” said Upmanu Lall, director of both the Water Institute at Arizona State University and the Columbia Water Center at Columbia University. “There has been stuff like this off and on, but not in such a short period of time across the Western states.”"

Christopher Flavelle reports for the New York Times February 29, 2024.

Source: NYTimes, 03/04/2024