CVWD efforts have reversed groundwater-level decline in areas of the valley that have been some of the historically most overdrafted, according to new report by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).
The District’s work to replenish local aquifers has led to stable land surface elevations in most of the Coachella Valley, the report shows. Prior studies identified areas with land subsidence that are now stable, uplifting, or experiencing substantial subsidence slowing.
In particular, the USGS report credits these three CVWD initiatives as most effective in improving groundwater conditions:
- Providing Colorado River water through the Mid-Valley Pipeline project since 2006 to reduce groundwater pumping
- Budget-based tiered water rates in place since 2009 that have contributed to conservation
- Aquifer replenishment at the Thomas E. Levy Groundwater Replenishment Facility since 2009
Researchers used Global Positioning System (GPS) surveying and interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) to collect and analyze data for the study. The analysis found that water levels in wells throughout the valley showed longer-term stability or rising groundwater levels since about 2010.
CVWD and the USGS have been investigating subsidence since 1996 when concerns arose that groundwater pumping led to groundwater-level declines that could trigger land subsidence. As well as drinking water, groundwater has been a major source of water for agriculture, recreation and municipal use in the Coachella Valley since the early 1920s. CVWD began importing water to the Valley via the Coachella Canal in 1949 to help reduce groundwater pumping.
You can view the full report at https://pubs.er.usgs.gov/publication/sir20205093.