USGS Finds Land Sinking Rapidly in Central Valley

Nov 21, 2013 1:17 PM

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A federal study has found land sinking more rapidly than usual because of increased water pumping from underground aquifers in the San Joaquin Valley, damaging vital water infrastructure.

The U.S. Geological Survey on Thursday released a report that found land subsidence is reducing the capacity of the Delta-Mendota Canal and the California Aqueduct, two key water conveyances.

The problem is exacerbated by drought. In dry years, limits on surface water use increases pumping of ground water.

In one area, researchers found the ground sinking at nearly one foot each year near the town of El Nido in Merced County.

The data are meant to help the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and other agencies mitigate the damage, and factor the sinking land in current and future construction projects.

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