Groundwater woes focus of Oakdale meeting and new USGS study

11/18/2013 7:36 PM

11/18/2013 7:37 PM

Concern about sinking groundwater levels is getting lots of attention this week in the Northern San Joaquin Valley.

Oakdale Irrigation District staff members will make a presentation today about the issue, and researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey will release a new report Thursday about problems caused by overdrafting.

OID staff members will talk about groundwater conditions in Stanislaus County’s northeastern region. They’ll explain their irrigation district’s groundwater operations, monitoring and planning efforts, and they’ll discuss recent trends concerning the region’s groundwater levels. The public is invited.

The presentation will be during the OID’s Board of Directors meeting, which starts at 9 a.m. today at the district office, 1205 E. F St., Oakdale.

Then on Thursday, the USGS will release a study on how extensive groundwater pumping from San Joaquin Valley aquifers is increasing the rate at which the ground is sinking. That process, called subsidence, could cause serious problems for the Valley’s irrigation systems.

“This subsidence is reducing the capacity of the Delta-Mendota Canal, the California Aqueduct, and other canals that transport floodwater and deliver water to agriculture, cities, industry and wildlife refuges, potentially causing damage and requiring expensive repairs,” the USGS stated in a notice announcing the report. “To help public agencies and resource managers minimize risk and damage to California’s infrastructure, the USGS is studying and providing information on groundwater conditions and land subsidence in the San Joaquin Valley.”

The Bee will report on that study, “Land Subsidence along the Delta-Mendota Canal in the Northern Part of the San Joaquin Valley, California, 2003-10,” once it’s released.

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