The discovery of groundwater under California's Central Valley is tempered by the need to protect it from contamination. (Credit: Mark Shwartz)
Beyond what is typical for groundwater exploration, at depths of around 1,000 feet, Stanford University researchers have found additional groundwater supplies in California’s Central Valley. But the find doesn’t solve the state’s water woes — pumping it out would be difficult and very likely cause surrounding lands to sink.
Much of the water found is 1,000 to 3,000 feet underground and would be very expensive to remove. Some of the deep aquifer water is also brinier than more shallow groundwater, so treatment could be needed to make it useful for farming or drinking.
Researchers say that the discovery, made through an analysis of data from thousands of oil and gas wells, points to a need to protect the deep stores of water. Though they aren’t being tapped now, it may be that people will need to use the water sources in the future.
Full results of the research effort are published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Top image: The discovery of groundwater under California’s Central Valley is tempered by the need to protect it from contamination. (Credit: Mark Shwartz)