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The California Overdraft Crisis

California currently extracts about 14.2 million acre-feet of groundwater every year, and about 80% of Californians rely on groundwater for their daily needs. Long seen as a safe and reliable source of water, resilient to drought and scarcity, California now finds itself in an extreme water crisis with frightening environmental impacts. For more information about the water crisis facing California, check out our previous blog post, Race to the Bottom: An Overview of California’s Groundwater Overdraft Crisis.

Foundry Spatial and California

Foundry Spatial has been active in California since 2017 when the Navarro River, northwest of Santa Rosa, was selected as a case study…


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With the pandemic giving the Grinch a run for his money, this year’s holiday season is looking a little different for all of us. Yet, just like the Whos in Whoville, Foundry Spatial isn’t going to let anything steal our Christmas spirit.

Though a typical Foundry Christmas begins with decorating of the office and concludes with a holiday dinner at one of our favourite local restaurants, we improvised this year and devised the perfect plan to stay safe and still celebrate.

The Foundry Spatial Covid Christmas Game Plan:

Phase One: The Assignment

Given that we aren’t able to partake in our usual festivities, the Foundry Team decided to institute a new…


Everyone knows oil and water don’t mix.
What about Trump and water?

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Given the sheer magnitude and volume of ridiculousness we’ve heard coming from President Trump over the past four years, you may not remember the 2016 campaign rhetoric paying special attention to the drought in California, and in particular, the conflict around agricultural use of water in the Central Valley.

To provide a refresher, Trump stated in a late summer 2016 speech that there was, in fact, no drought in California, and the only problem was that water was being left to flow out into the ocean. …


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In California, wetlands are disappearing. In the 1970s, California, with a total surface area of approximately 101 million acres, had 5 million acres of wetland. Today, less than 500,000 acres of wetland remain. More than 90% of historical wetlands have already been lost, and those that remain are vulnerable to human effects and climate change.

The Coyote Valley in California connects 1.13 million acres of wildlife habitat. It is home to the Laguna Seca, a now-seasonal wetland in which water is above the surface from December to May. The Laguna Seca was once the Bay Area’s largest wetland system, originally…


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There is an imminent need for accessible, actionable information to solve the challenge of achieving sustainable groundwater management in California. Notorious for excessive groundwater pumping, the state is now experiencing a frightening groundwater overdraft that threatens it’s groundwater dependent ecosystems (GDEs). Iconic GDEs include the crystal-clear, vegetation-rich rivers, streams, and estuaries home to salmon and steelhead populations.

Once thriving in California, the coho salmon, Chinook salmon, and steelhead populations in California are declining in numbers. Listed as endangered, threatened, or a species of concern, they are unable to access 35% of their historic spawning range. …


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The Pacific Northwest is home to a wide range of marine biodiversity. One species of whale in particular holds cultural importance to the stories and traditions of the Coast Salish people and is a favourite sight of locals and tourists alike. Southern Resident Orcas can be found in coastal waters stretching from British Columbia to Northern California. Off the coast of Vancouver Island, the Southern Resident Orca is one species of whale that can be seen on guided tours, swimming along the port or starboard of the Swartz Bay ferry, and even occasionally in Victoria’s Inner Harbour.

Southern Resident Orcas…


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As the ninth highest user of groundwater worldwide, California now finds itself in a groundwater overdraft crisis. Pumping more groundwater than any other U.S. state, California extracts 14.2 million acre-feet of groundwater on average each year.

Groundwater is a critical resource for California. More than 80% of Californians rely on groundwater for daily needs, and competition for the usage of this resource spans many industries. California’s Central Valley produces a quarter of the United States’ food, making agriculture an especially large driver of groundwater extraction in the state. …


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Everyone’s familiar with the feeling of nervous excitement that comes with the first day at a new job. A typical onboarding process has always, up until now, featured a tour of the office, being assigned to a workspace, and the daunting introduction to the team. For a co-op student, this is an especially important process as this is often one of their first office experiences.

For us, and many other co-op students, remote onboarding was uncharted territory. As of right now, our entire co-op experience has been online. …


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We often say that Foundry Spatial is about its people, but what does that look like when those people have to work from home? As individuals who like our jobs and the people we work with, transitioning to a home office posed to us a challenge of how to maintain the in-office communication and collaboration that makes Foundry Spatial such a great place to work. Our emphasis on and dedication to our company culture encouraged us to take on this challenge in stride and determine how to stay connected while physically apart.

Checking-in To kick off the week, the team…


On December 3rd, Foundry Spatial’s Ben Kerr traveled down to Sacramento with research partner Sam Zipper from the University of Victoria to attend the Groundwater-Surface Water Interactions Workshop run by the California State Water Resources Board. Following the adoption of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) in 2014, the state of California has been ramping up its efforts to implement the new legislation. The purpose of the workshop was to discuss surface water depletion caused by groundwater withdrawals and how these impacts can be managed to meet the objectives of SGMA. …

Foundry Spatial

Empowering decisions to shape the future of watersheds and aquifers.

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