Smith and Mason valleys have groundwater reduced by 50 percent

The state engineer Tuesday issued an order cutting the amount of groundwater that may be pumped this growing season in Smith Valley and Mason Valley by 50 percent.

A spokeswoman said the objective is to protect existing water rights and wells and the long-term water supply in those valleys.

During the past four years of drought conditions, those two valleys have seen “unprecedented groundwater pumping and water level declines.” There have been reports of well failures and there is a possibility of basin-wide failures of shallow wells unless pumping is reduced.

The plan was explained at a workshop in January.

Division officials will begin tagging each irrigation well with a notice of how much water may be pumped from that well in the near future. A copy of that document can be obtained on line at or by contacting the division of water resources.


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