Although a number of agencies have made leveling surveys in Sacramento Valley and a valleywide network of first- and second-order control exists, few areas have sufficient control for determining whether land subsidence has occurred and if so, how much, within the time span of vertical control. Available data suggest that 0.2 to 0.9 foot (0.06 to 0.3 m) of subsidence probably has occurred from 1935-42 to 1964 in an extensive agricultural area of heavy ground-water pumping between Zamora and Davis, and that as much as 2 feet (0.6 m) of subsidence has occurred in at least two areas of pumping overdraft--east of Zamora, and west of Arbuckle.
A comparison of maps showing long-term water-level decline and average annual ground-water pumpage indicates several other areas of probable subsidence. In six general areas--northwest of Sacramento; northeast of Sacramento; southeast of Yuba City; 10 miles (16 km) north of Willows; 20 miles (32 km) north of Willows; and especially in the Arbuckle area,ground-water declines have quite probably produced significant subsidence. In two areas of most intensive pumping, no long-term water-level declines have occurred, and no subsidence is indicated.
If problems of land subsidence are of concern in Sacramento Valley, and if estimates of historic subsidence or subsidence potential are needed, serious consideration should be given to a field program of basic-data collection. Second-order leveling along a few carefully selected lines of existing control, and the installation and operation of two or three compaction recorders in areas of continuing water-level decline, would provide helpful data for estimating .past and future subsidence.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Preliminary subsidence investigation of Sacramento Valley, California