California sinking faster than previously thought: researchers warn

Some areas of California are sinking at an unprecedentedly faster rate and aquifers could permanently shrink earlier than previously thought, researchers warned after analyzing a new NASA satellite imagery.

A deep analysis of the new data collected by NASA satellites revealed that some areas of the California are sinking more than 2 inches per month. The sinking, known as subsidence, is not a new problem for the Golden State, but its rate has significantly accelerated over the past few years due to the state's persistent drought that caused voracious pumping of groundwater.

Certain areas are shrinking at a really astonishing rate. For instance, regions of the Tulare Basin, including Fresno, sank a whopping 13 inches in just eight months. The Sacramento Valley is sinking at a rate of 0.5 inches per month.

Mark Cowin, the director of California's Department of Water Resources, said, "Because of increased pumping, groundwater levels are reaching record lows - up to 100 feet (30 meters) lower than previous records … the land is sinking more rapidly, and this puts nearby infrastructure at greater risk of costly damage."

Cowin warned that this voracious groundwater pumping could create long-term adverse consequences for the Golden State. In case, the land shrinks too much for a too long period of time, then it could permanently lose its ability to store groundwater.

The Golden State is in the grip of its worst drought on record. Nearly 97 per cent of the state is facing moderate to severe dry conditions.