Pump Tax, Basin Equity Assessment and Sustainability in Groundwater Management: Orange County Water District Experience

  • Takahiro Endo
Part of the Global Environmental Studies book series (GENVST)


The term “sustainable development” has become very popular among researchers, practitioners and policymakers since the 1980s. The sustainability concept is now applied in the field of groundwater management. Excessive groundwater pumping is taking place in many parts of the world and the means to achieve sustainable groundwater management has become an urgent need. The purpose of this paper is to analyze how to promote sustainable groundwater management, with a focus on Orange County Water District (OCWD), California, USA. OCWD faced excessive groundwater pumping in the 1920s. Since then, the district introduced various policies including a pump tax and basin equity assessment to tackle the problem, and continues to use groundwater as the primary supply. Investigation into the factors that enable OCWD to use groundwater continuously provides useful information to policymakers in other areas who are engaged in groundwater management. In addition, policy implications in terms of sustainability are drawn from OCWD’s groundwater management.


Common-pool resources Groundwater management Sustainable development Sustainability Pump tax Basin equity assessment Orange County Water District California 



This research was supported by the research project “Human-environmental security in the Asia-pacific ring of fire” (Director Aiko Endo, Associate Professor, Research Institute for Humanity and Nature) under the Research Institute for Humanity and Nature Project and “Fusion of global water resources assessment and social institution studies” (Director Shinjiro Kanae, Professor, Tokyo Institute of Technology), under the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science KAKENHI (Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (B)) grant number 15H04047. Special thanks are due to Mr. Roy L. Herndon, OCWD chief hydro-geologist, for providing the data. The views presented here are those of the author and should be in no way attributed to organization mentioned above. Last, I thank the reviewers for their useful comments. Responsibility for the text rests entirely with the author. We thank Edanz Group ( for editing a draft of this manuscript.


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Sustainable System SciencesOsaka Prefecture UniversitySakai CityJapan

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