Groundwater overpumping causes land subsidence in San Joaquin Valley city of Corcoran
In the fertile lands of the San Joaquin Valley, a silent crisis brews beneath the surface. Despite urgent pleas from local officials and environmentalists, agricultural magnates continue their relentless extraction of groundwater. The city of Corcoran, a community of approximately 20,000 residents and home to a maximum-security prison, is sinking. The persistent over-pumping of groundwater by major landowners in the Tulare Lake Basin has initiated a slow-motion collapse of the valley floor. … According to a recent study by the U.S. Geological Survey, the valley has lost about 41 cubic kilometers of groundwater since 1980, enough to fill Lake Tahoe. This has caused the land to subside, or sink, by as much as 8.5 meters in some areas. The subsidence has damaged roads, bridges, canals, and other infrastructure, posing a threat to public safety and the environment.