UC Water presents Michelle Sneed on "Land Subsidence"

October 19, 2015

Poster for Michelle SneedMichelle Sneed is the recipient of the prestigious David Keith Todd Distinguished Lectureship and conducts much of her research on subsidence near Merced. UC Merced and UC Water are pleased to host a public lecture on this important groundwater resources and local issue. 

Land Subsidence: The Lowdown on the Drawdown
Michelle Sneed
Tuesday, October 27, 6:30pm
California Room
UC Merced
Merced, California

Parking after 6pm is complimentary. 

Students, join Michelle for conversation and lunch at 1:00pm in KL 360. RSVP on GoogleForms to reserve your place.

Contact Leigh BernacchiUC Water program coordinator for more information.

Lecture Abstract

Land subsidence caused by aquifer-system compaction in California, particularly in the San Joaquin Valley, has recently received increased attention from water-science professionals and the media because of two recent droughts: 2007–09 and 2012–ongoing. The compaction of susceptible aquifer systems caused by excessive groundwater pumping is by far the single largest cause of subsidence in California, and subsidence in the San Joaquin Valley has been identified as the single largest human alteration of the Earth’s surface topography. In some areas during periods of drought, groundwater pumping has increased to compensate for the reduced surface-water deliveries that typically accompany drought periods, resulting in large and rapid groundwater-level declines. In other areas where surface-water deliveries do not substantially contribute to the water availability or where land use is trending to more water-intensive uses, groundwater levels have declined during both drought and non-drought periods. While more focus has been placed on the burden of infrastructure damage from subsidence which can be repaired, compaction permanently decreases the capacity of the aquifer system to store water, such that subsidence occurring today is a legacy for all tomorrows. The talk will include discussions of subsidence processes, measurements, analyses, and consequences by exploring selected case studies in the San Joaquin Valley, the Coachella Valley, and the Mojave Desert.