State officials estimate water tables in some parts of the Central Valley have dropped 100 feet below historical lows. Groundwater pumping could also put more stress on the San Andreas Fault, which has moving plates that can cause earthquakes.
And those aren’t the only consequences.
“We’re on a one-way trajectory towards depletion, towards running out of groundwater,” says Jay Famiglietti, a University of California hydrologist and a leading expert on groundwater. He points out California’s the only Western state that doesn’t really monitor or regulate how much groundwater is pumped.