Extensive groundwater pumping from San Joaquin Valley aquifers is increasing the rate of land subsidence, or sinking.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Extensive groundwater pumping from San Joaquin Valley aquifers is increasing the rate of land subsidence, or sinking. This large-scale and rapid subsidence has the potential to cause serious damage to the water delivery infrastructure that brings water from the north of the valley to the south where it helps feed thirsty cropland and cities. According to a new report by the U.S. Geological Survey the subsidence is occurring in such a way that there may be significant operational and structural challenges that need to be overcome to ensure reliable water delivery.
The report concentrates on subsidence in an original study area along the economically vital Delta-Mendota Canal in the northern San Joaquin Valley, but also includes data from a subsequently discovered and much larger subsidence area that touches the canal on the southwest.