Wednesday February 1, 2023


Experts from NASA say a previously unmeasured underground source accounts for about 10% of all the water that enters the highly-productive Central Valley farmland each year.

The NASA study shows an average of four million acre-feet of water is delivered through the soil and fractured rocks under California’s Sierra Nevada mountains to the Central Valley annually.

Federal officials say the Central Valley encompasses only 1% of the nation’s farmland but produces 40% of the country’s fruits, vegetables, and nuts annually – but that is only possible because of the intensive groundwater pumping for irrigation as well as river and stream flows captured in reservoirs.

However, experts say growers who are pumping more water than can be replenished by natural sources are causing the ground level to sink and requiring wells to be drilled deeper and deeper. They estimate that the Central Valley lost about 1.8 million acre-feet of groundwater per year between 2006 and 2021.

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