Land Sags Amid Irrigation Pumping

January 17, 2014 02:40 AM
 
Irrigation Subsidence

Recently published satellite data reveal rapid subsidence (i.e. sinking) of land in California’s Central Valley that spans more than 1,200 square miles, E&E Publishing reports.

The culprit is the pumping of groundwater for agricultural and urban uses, which occurred amid persistent drought and surface-water restrictions. In places, subsidence occurred at a rate of nearly 1 foot per year between 2008 to 2010, the period covered in the U.S. Geological Survey report.

The Bureau of Land Reclamation commissioned the report ahead of investing as much as $800 million to perform restoration along the San Joaquin River. "We may have the least [groundwater regulation] of any state," Felicia Marcus, head of the State Water Resources Control Board, tells E&E. "It's probably a tie with Texas at the state level."  

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