The population in San Luis Obispo County has grown steadily during the 1990s, and some land use has been converted from dry farming to grazing to irrigated vineyards and urban areas. Because insufficient surface-water supplies are available to meet the growing demand, ground-water pumpage has increased and the resulting water-level declines have raised concern that this water resource may become overstressed. One particular concern is whether the larger ground-water basins within the county function as large individual basins or whether subsurface structures divide these large basins into smaller subbasins, as differences in ground-water-level data suggest. Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) is used in locating land-surface displacement, which may indicate subsurface structures in ground-water basins by determining seasonal and historical land-surface changes. Owing to the high spatial detail of InSAR imagery, the InSAR-derived displacement maps can be used with ground-water-level data to reveal differential aquifer-system compaction related to the presence of geological structures or the distribution of compressible sediments that may define subbasin boundaries. This report describes InSAR displacement maps of the Paso Robles area of San Luis Obispo County and compares them to maps of seasonal changes in ground-water levels to detect the presence of aquifer-system compaction.
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USGS Numbered Series
Use of InSAR to identify land-surface displacements caused by aquifer-system compaction in the Paso Robles area, San Luis Obispo County, California, March to August 1997