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Groundwater & Sea Level

If we could get the water from the Delta to the Central Valley instead of sending it to the ocean, we wouldn't have to pump it out of the ground and none of it would end up in the ocean contributing to sea level rise

May 28, 2013

A U.S. Geological Survey study says groundwater is a small but contributing factor in worldwide sea level rise. Apparently we are pumping water out of the ground and it's ending up in the ocean. This, along with global warming, is causing the sea level to rise. So, let's see if we've got this straight. Bureaucrats, with hopes of saving the Delta Smelt, are letting water flow to the ocean instead of letting it come to farms in the Central Valley. Because of this, farmers are forced to pump water out of the ground. We might want to point out to the pointy-headed ones that the water flowing through the Delta is also contributing to sea level rise, and a lot more so than the water being pumped out of the ground. If we could get the water from the Delta to the Central Valley instead of sending it to the ocean, we wouldn't have to pump it out of the ground and none of it would end up in the ocean contributing to sea level rise. They can't have it both ways. Oh, wait a minute. I guess they can if no one points out the obvious hypocrisy.

 

Study: Groundwater Depletion in U.S. Contributing to Sea Level Rise

 
Submitted by Matt Williams/Association of California Water Agencies

Groundwater in the U.S. is being depleted at a faster rate and has become a small but contributing factor in worldwide sea level rise, according to a new study.

Researchers estimated 1,000 cubic kilometers (km3) of groundwater was depleted (lost) in the U.S. between 1900 and 2008 — more than twice the amount of water in Lake Erie. About 145 km3 of that total came from activity in California’s Central Valley. Led by U.S. Geological Survey hydrologist Leonard F. Konikow, the study integrated data from 40 major U.S. aquifers and areas.

“This large volume of depletion represents a serious problem in the United States because much of this storage loss cannot be easily or quickly recovered and affects the sustainability of some critical water supplies and base flow to streams, among other effects,” the study asserted.

Net groundwater loss in the U.S. increased 200 km3 between 2000 and 2008, indicating that more has been drawn out in recent years.

Much of the displaced water eventually ends up in the world’s oceans. In fact, groundwater depletion in the U.S. alone accounted for 2.8 millimeters of sea-level rise between 1900-2008, more than 1% of the world’s sea-level rise during that period of time, according to Konikow.

“Although groundwater depletion is rarely assessed and poorly documented, it is becoming recognized as an increasingly serious global problem that threatens sustain ability of water supplies,” the study added.

Groundwater depletion also can cause local effects such as land subsidence, reduced productivity from wells and smaller stream flows.

Download the study, titled "Groundwater Depletion in the United States (1900–2008)," at the USGS website here.

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