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California's sinking land threatens vital water canal

Courtesy of California Department of Water Resources

From left: Joseph Poland by a telephone pole comparing land surface elevation from 1925 to 1977; buckling of the Delta-Mendota Canal due to sinking ground; a land-subsidence fissure at the Fort Irwin National Training Center; hydrologist Michelle Sneed at signs indicating Central Valley land surface elevation in 1965 compared to 2013.


FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — California officials say that land in the Central Valley is sinking so much from over-pumping of groundwater in the drought that they will press for new laws to limit well drilling to slow the damage.

Jeanine Jones of the California Department of Water Resources said Thursday that sinking land threatens to limit up to one-fifth of water deliveries to central and Southern California as part of the state's vital north-south water project.

NASA satellite images show the land sinking at a troubling pace.

The 444-mile California Aqueduct provides water to 25 million people and nearly one million acres of farmland. Officials say that since 2015, sections of the concrete canal have dropped more than two feet in places.

Farmers relied heavily on groundwater for irrigation during California's historic drought.

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