Events & Media


The Groundwater Resource Association of California
Central Coast Branch Dinner Meeting

"Land Subsidence: The Lowdown on the Drawdown" 

Michelle Sneed
U.S. Geological Survey 2015 GRA David Keith Todd California Distinguished Lecturer

Thursday, April 30, 2015
Bren Hall 1414 

6:00 - 6:15 PM Registration/Networking
6:15 - 7:00 PM Dinner, Announcements, Business Meeting
7:00 - 8:00 PM Keynote Speaker 
(Michelle Sneed)

$35 members, $45 non-members, $10 for students.
Note: Students can attend the presentation at no cost if they do not want to have a meal.

Register online and pay by credit card, or pay by check at the door.
The registration deadline is April 29, 3:00 pm

Areas in California, particularly in the San Joaquin Valley, are experiencing historically high rates of land subsidence (with land sinking as much as 1 foot per year) because of recent droughts and high rates of groundwater withdrawal. Consequently, land subsidence and groundwater withdrawal are receiving increased attention from water-science professionals and the media. The compaction of susceptible aquifer systems caused by excessive groundwater pumping is the single largest cause of subsidence in California, and the 5,200 square miles affected by subsidence in the San Joaquin Valley during the better part of the 20th century has been identified as the single largest human alteration of the Earth’s surface topography. Groundwater pumping has increased during periods of drought to compensate for reduced surface-water availability in some areas that historically depend on it, resulting in large and rapid groundwater level declines. Additionally, in some areas where surface water is a minor component of the water supply or where land use has changed to more water-intensive uses, groundwater levels have declined during both drought and non-drought periods. While more focus has been placed on the visible, repairable infrastructure damage from subsidence, compaction of the aquifer system permanently decreases its capacity to store water. This presentation will include discussions of subsidence processes, measurements, analyses, and consequences by exploring selected case studies throughout California, including the San Joaquin Valley, the Coachella Valley, and/or the Mojave Desert.

Michelle Sneed has been with the California Water Science Center since 1994. She has published many studies on land subsidence related to fluid-pressure changes in areas throughout California and other areas in the western United States. She is a member of the American Geophysical Union, the Groundwater Resources Association, and the National Ground Water Association, and recently was invited to join the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization’s Working Group on Land Subsidence, the recognized leader in promoting global land-subsidence studies. She earned her MS and BS in geology from California State University, Sacramento, where she periodically teaches geology classes.


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