San Joaquin Valley Still Sinking at ‘Troubling’ Rate Due to Groundwater Pumping, NASA Study Finds

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West Washington Road where it crosses the Eastside Bypass, a constructed floodway for the San Joaquin River, is shown in a state Department of Water Resources photo.

California’s San Joaquin Valley continues to sink at an alarming rate because of groundwater pumping and irrigation, according to a new study by NASA.

Ground levels in some areas have dropped 1 to 2 feet in the last two years, creating deeper and wider “bowls” that continue to threaten the vital network of channels that transport water across Southern California, researchers say.

The findings underscore the fact that even as record rain and snow have brought much of California out of severe drought, some parts of the state will probably struggle with water problems for years to come.

Despite a new series of storms that battered California this week, state water regulators decided Wednesday to maintain drought restrictions for at least a few more months as they continue to assess recovery.

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