Vast areas of California’s Central Valley are sinking faster than in the past as huge amounts of groundwater are pumped during the drought, NASA said in research released Wednesday. In some places, the ground is sinking nearly two inches each month, putting surface infrastructure at growing risk of damage. Sinking land has occurred for decades in the state because of excessive groundwater pumping during drought, but the new data shows it is happening faster. The report said land near Corcoran sank 13 inches in eight months and part of the California Aqueduct sank eight inches in four months last year. Long-term sinking has destroyed thousands of public and private groundwater well casings in the San Joaquin Valley. Over time, it can permanently reduce the underground aquifer’s water storage capacity. Scientists used satellite images of the Earth taken over time to measure the sinking land.
Meanwhile, an article in today’s NY Times about developers working to build huge additional developments in drought-stricken communities in California, with rah-rah boosterism about the ‘just-around-the-corner’ solution to the desertification of the Southwest.