1200 sq mi of California’s prime agricultural land is sinking rapidly in a slow moving disaster almost no one knows is happening
|Cracks in the Land, cracks in the infrastructure as aquifers collapse|
California’s historic drought, which began in 2011, is causing extensive areas of the state to sink as groundwater is pumped out of aquifers. Farmers are drilling deeper and new wells are being to sunk in a desperate effort to reach water for irrigation. Because snowpack is at a historical low again this year, access to rivers and other sources of water has been curtailed. As a result, the aquifers are another 100 feet lower than the previous recorded low.
With the largest area of class 1 soils in the world, the Central Valley produces over a third of the nation’s fruits and vegetables under normal circumstances. At this point, the cost to agriculture is estimated at nearly $2 billion in losses.
Tulare Lake is not coming back
As the land collapses, it causes massive damage to the infrastructure. Bridges are crackling, dams are settling, houses are crumbling and roads are buckling as the valley floor subsidence. Sinkholes are opening up around the state as government agencies contemplate where to get millions of dollars to repair the damage. In some areas, the land is subsiding at a rate of a foot per year.