Epic levels of sinking lands across California could hit new 50-year lows come summer without any concrete plans to stem the tide brought on by record drought and government regulatory strangleholds preventing free flow of above ground options.
Deep, extended drought has exacerbated the problem, as thousands of miles of lands in California’s Central Valley and beyond hit 50-year sinking records in the summer of 2014, Reveal News reports.
Geological survey hydrologist Michelle Sneed was faced with a shocking report in 2012 that showed extreme rates of sinking along the San Joaquin River, Reveal noted. Sneed, along with a few others, analyzed satellite data for portion of the San Joaquin Valley.
Some places were discovered to be sinking as much as a foot per year. Looking back, between 1925 and 1977, Mendota’s farming region experienced 30 feet of sinking.
Bridges, irrigation canals and highways are feeling the destructive depression as well, according to U.S. Geological Survey findings cited.
Past instances of sinking have cost more than one billion dollars to remedy, according to the report.
Despite California’s reputation as the land of excessive government monitoring and regulations, no government agency is monitoring the sinking of the state, reports Reveal.
The cause of the sinking has been linked to overburdened and depleting groundwater supplies, with 60 percent of California’s water coming from this source.
But why is the state sourcing such copious amounts of life-giving H2O from underground, when water flows freely through the San Joaquin River (SJR) Delta? Politically well-connected individuals, operating under the guise of environmental justice, are imposing massive and increasing restrictions on the use of readily available above ground water, forcing thirsty and food-growing Californians underground. Water sources like the SJR Delta have been deemed increasingly hands off, citing the plight of a 3-inch fish.
A video on the drought, put out by California Assembly member Shannon Grove (R) in April, states ground water pumping this year has increased 62%. Grove cites the federal Endangered Species Act, enacted in 1973, in pointing out that water from the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers now flows into the San Francisco Bay instead of going to Central Valley Farms, as it had in prior years.
The change is attributed to the protection of the three-inch Delta Smelt, which more recently has been hard to even find present in the region. A farmer featured in the video tells Grove, “There’s plenty of water available, we just can’t get it through the system because of regulatory issues.” The situation is costing food purchasers, farmers, and jobs.
Reveal’s report also notes that groundwater pumps are responsible for five percent of total electricity usage in the state.
As the political elite and special interests continue to depress hard working citizens, everyone pays the price. While California builds a high-speed train to nowhere, little has been, but could still be done to free up readily available water from regulatory restrictions for the sake of serving the many across the country who benefit from the Bread Basket of California.
Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana