A new report by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) shows that local aquifers in the Coachella Valley are increasing leading to stabilization of land subsidence in the Valley. Efforts to replenish the aquifers, led by the Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD) have been effective as areas with land subsidence identified in prior studies are now stable, uplifting, or experiencing substantial slowing of subsidence.
“The study shows that CVWD’s commitment to these partnerships and the sustainability of the aquifer that supplies most of our drinking water is a success story,” said Jim Barrett, General Manager of CVWD. “The results clearly demonstrate a reversal in trends of groundwater-level declines during previous decades. This is good news for the long-term health of the aquifers.”
The USGS report identified three initiatives by CVWD that have been most effective in improving groundwater conditions in some of the historically most overdrafted areas of the valley.
Global Positioning System (GPS) surveying and interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) methods were used to analyze the vertical land-surface changes in the Coachella Valley. The study found that water levels in wells throughout the valley showed longer-term stability or rising groundwater levels since about 2010. Which shows a reversal in trends of groundwater-levels in the Valley.
CVWD and the USGS have been investigating subsidence since 1996 in response to concerns that pumping of groundwater was leading to groundwater-level declines that also could trigger land subsidence.
The full report can be viewed at https://pubs.er.usgs.gov/publication/sir20205093