A Northern California community sank more than 2 feet in nine years, the starkest example of how tapping groundwater in times of drought has caused parts of the Sacramento Valley to sink, according to a report from the state Department of Water Resources.
Arbuckle, a Colusa County community of 3,028 people, sank 2.14 feet between 2008 and 2017. While the subsidence was most severe in Arbuckle, it was widespread in Yolo County, where the DWR registered ground levels sinking from a third of a foot to 1 foot at 31 sites. The DWR also measured areas in Glenn and Sutter counties where ground levels had sunk modestly.
DWR Director Karla Nemeth attributed the sinkage to overtaxing the valley’s groundwater during the drought that desiccated California from 2012 to 2016. The agency will continue to push for more sustainable use of the state’s groundwater, Nemeth said in a news release.
The survey, conducted during 2017, found that groundwater levels in the Sacramento Valley had recovered an average of 7 feet since the drought’s end. But the drought had depleted groundwater levels in parts of Colusa County by as much as 43 feet. In Glenn County, the groundwater was even more exhausted, dropping 58 feet in places.
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