With Groundwater Pumping, California Sinks At Unseen Rate

By on June 24, 2015

A California well being pumped. (Credit: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images)

In the summer of 2014, U.S. Geological Survey scientists studying soil levels in California found that the state was sinking at its most extreme rate in 50 years, according to Grist. The cause, they say, is the depletion of groundwater supplies as the state grapples with long-term drought.

That type of massive sinkage has not been seen since the 1970s, which was around the time that groundwater depletion was first discovered as the reason for sinking California farmland. But as groundwater has come to supply nearly 60 percent of the state’s water in the current drought, the extreme sinking has made a comeback.

The USGS researchers have reached out to government agencies, as well as private businesses, to inform them of the sinkage and see how they are dealing with it. Many simply haven’t been aware of the subsidence and few track repairs associated with it. Managing the issue is further complicated by a lack of restrictions on groundwater amounts that farmers can pump, as well as current regulations that keep information private on those pumping it.

Featured Image: A California well being pumped. (Credit: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images)

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