California is sinking, and it’s nothing new. It’s been happening as long as we’ve been pulling water from the aquifers. From 1925 to 1977, parts of the San Joaquin Valley sank as much as 30 feet. There was a hiatus as irrigation water was canaled in from outside the region, but now that the wells are operating again the land is sinking at about one foot per year with estimates of two feet per year in some places. Not just some weird weather consequence, sinking land has near term costs because roads, bridges, dams, and pipelines are damaged and have to be rebuilt; and long term consequences because the aquifer is smaller, sinkholes develop, and drainages can become lakes and inland seas. The costs are in the billions, and also in the eventual loss of arable land.
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