ARBUCKLE (CBS13) — The headlines are dramatic. But the truth is complicated. A part of Arbuckle is sinking.
An area in the Colusa County town is reportedly two feet lower than the last time they measured. The State Department of Water Resources found the largest amount of sinking in all of the areas they measured in the Sacramento Valley.
County officials say it’s cause for concern, but people should not freak out.
“I’ve read articles stating the town of Arbuckle is sinking and that’s not accurate,” Colusa County Water Resources Manager Mary Fahey said. “The town of Arbuckle is not sinking just one point so. There’s one survey point where they noted that change.”
No need for panic, but what is happening in this and other areas is cause for concern. An animation from NASA shows the reason for the sinking land, subsidence, caused by growers pumping more and more water out of the ground.
Several years ago when the issue occurred in the San Joaquin Valley, we spoke with USGS Hydrologist Michelle Sneed, “We should be worried. It is a concern. It’s expensive. It’s impacting farming activities.”
Surface water is dwindling so area growers are drilling wells at deeper depths. Scientists say they’re sucking far more water out of the ground that what is replaced, which can cause the land to collapse.
Experts warn repairs to damaged roads and bridges could cost taxpayers millions.
“We’re not gonna ignore it for sure. It’s important. And, we can’t just let something like this continue to happen,” Fahey said.
Groundwater management plans are in the works to help prevent areas up and down the Sacramento Valley from sinking further.