California's Central Valley

Science Center Objects

Competition for water resources is growing throughout California, particularly in the Central Valley. The Central Valley's population is expected to increase to 6 million by 2020. This population growth, along with anticipated reductions in Colorado River water deliveries, drought, and the ecological crisis in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, have created an intense demand for water. The following information provided by the USGS is helping to manage the water resouces of Central Valley.

Water Use & Availability

WAUSP Central Valley Aquifer photo 18

Map of USGS Groundwater Resources Program regional scale groundwater study areas.


Central Valley Groundwater Availability

The depletion of groundwater at a variety of scales and the compounding effects of recent droughts have emphasized the need for an updated status on the availability of the Central Valley's groundwater resources.


Water Use & Climate Change in the Central Valley

Insights into effects of climate variability and climate change on water-resource management can be provided by observationally informed modeling and conjunctive-use analyses.


Hydrogeologic Characterization of the Modesto Area Groundwater Basin

To aid in the evaluation of water management strategies, the U.S. Geological Survey and the STRGBA are developing a simulation/optimization model that consists of a transient model of ground-water flow coupled with optimization tools.


San Joaquin Public Workshop: Presentation of Findings for San Joaquin County Groundwater Basin Studies

The presentations covered a range of topics from hydrologic conditions within the Northeastern San Joaquin Groundwater Subbasin including water chemistry and groundwater recharge, to groundwater flow modeling and land subsidence.


Land Subsidence Studies


Land Subsidence in the San Joaquin Valley

Subsidence has been a major concern in the Central Valley since the 1950s. With agriculture and growing populations putting increased demands on the Valley's groundwater supply, subsidence must be monitored closely.

Delta-Mendota Canal: Evaluation of Groundwater Conditions & Land Subsidence

Increased groundwater pumping in the San Joaquin Valley has renewed aquifer compaction, resulting in land subsidence that is causing structural damage, and reduction in the freeboard and flow capacity of the Delta-Mendota Canal.