California’s epic statewide drought has lead to mandatory water restrictions and a new state pastime, droughtshaming, but less-discussed is the fact that the drought is SINKING THE STATE. The Center for Investigative Reporting looked into just how bad the sinking has gotten and found that there’s not a lot being done to monitor the phenomenon at a statewide level, and equally little money being put toward studying it, despite the fact that it’s causing infrastructural problems across California and will continue to do so. CIR also found that key elements for studying the dangerously accelerated sinking of the state aren’t accessible to scientists because “California allows agriculture businesses to keep crucial parts of their operations secret.” The cause of the sinking is known, and it’s happened in California before. Once, it was even as bad as geologists think it might be now. Back then, it took more than $1 billion just to repair someof the damage.
Subsidence is caused when water is pulled out of underground water aquifers in “unsustainable amounts.” This usually happens during food production—as the water is pumped up to the surface, the ground beneath starts to lose what’s holding it up, like a Capri Sun pouch relieved of its fruit-flavored contents. Pumping water from underground sources isn’t new, but it’s a practice that’s been kicked into overdrive during the drought. (That’s been the habit during previous droughts in California too.) “Groundwater now supplies about 60 percent of the state’s water,” says CIR, though they don’t note the pre-drought percentage.
Read more: http://la.curbed.com/archives/2015/06/huge_sections_of_california_are_sinking_because_of_the_drought.php