Land Subsidence along the Delta-Mendota Canal in the Northern Part of the San Joaquin Valley, California, 2003-10   [open pdf - 15MB]

"Extensive groundwater withdrawal from the unconsolidated deposits in the San Joaquin Valley caused widespread aquifer-system compaction and resultant land subsidence from 1926 to 1970--locally exceeding 8.5 meters. The importation of surface water beginning in the early 1950s through the Delta-Mendota Canal and in the early 1970s through the California Aqueduct resulted in decreased pumping, initiation of water-level recovery, and a reduced rate of compaction in some areas of the San Joaquin Valley. However, drought conditions during 1976--77 and 1987--92, and drought conditions and regulatory reductions in surface-water deliveries during 2007--10, decreased surface-water availability, causing pumping to increase, water levels to decline, and renewed compaction. Land subsidence from this compaction has reduced freeboard and flow capacity of the Delta-Mendota Canal, the California Aqueduct, and other canals that deliver irrigation water and transport floodwater. The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the San Luis and Delta-Mendota Water Authority, assessed land subsidence in the vicinity of the Delta-Mendota Canal as part of an effort to minimize future subsidence-related damages to the canal. The location, magnitude, and stress regime of land-surface deformation during 2003--10 were determined by using extensometer, Global Positioning System (GPS), Interfero-metric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR), spirit leveling, and groundwater-level data. Comparison of continuous GPS, shallow extensometer, and groundwater-level data, combined with results from a one-dimensional model, indicated the vast majority of the compaction took place beneath the Corcoran Clay, the primary regional confining unit."

Report Number:
Scientific Investigations Report No. 2013-5142
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
U.S. Geological Survey: http://usgs.gov/
Media Type:
Help with citations