Matt Weiser, SACRAMENTO BEE
A new analysis of groundwater levels across California has found historically low water levels in thousands of wells in all areas of the state, another telltale of the drought’s intensity.
The report by the California Department of Water Resources, released Wednesday, was ordered by Gov. Jerry Brown as part of his January emergency drought proclamation. It analyzes thousands of wells across the state, based on available data submitted by well drillers and owners.
In examining about 5,400 wells that represent a subset of the total, about half have shrunk since 2008 to water levels lower than any seen over the preceding century.
The San Joaquin Valley is particularly hard hit, where wells are commonly used to irrigate large farms when water diverted from rivers becomes unavailable. Many of those wells have groundwater levels as much as 100 feet lower than historical norms, according to the report. Many wells in the Sacramento Valley, the Sonoma Valley and the Los Angeles basin have shrunk as much as 50 feet.