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Quantifying Ground Deformation in the Los Angeles and Santa Ana Coastal Basins Due to Groundwater Withdrawal

Riel, Bryan and Simons, Mark and Ponti, Daniel and Agram, Piyush and Jolivet, Romain (2018) Quantifying Ground Deformation in the Los Angeles and Santa Ana Coastal Basins Due to Groundwater Withdrawal. Water Resources Research, 54 (5). pp. 3557-3582. ISSN 0043-1397. doi:10.1029/2017WR021978.

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We investigate complex surface deformation within the Los Angeles and Santa Ana Coastal Basins due to groundwater withdrawal and subsequent aquifer compaction/expansion. We analyze an 18 year interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) time series of 881 interferograms in conjunction with global positioning system (GPS) data within the groundwater basins. The large data set required the development of a distributed time series analysis framework able to automatically decompose both the InSAR and GPS time series into short‐term and long‐term signals. We find that short‐term, seasonal oscillations of ground elevations due to annual groundwater withdrawal and recharge are unsteady due to changes in seasonal withdrawal by major water districts. The spatial pattern of seasonal ground deformation near the center of the basin corresponds to a diffusion process with peak deformation occurring at locations with highest groundwater production. Long‐term signals occur over broader areas and are ultimately caused by long‐term changes in groundwater production. Comparison of the geodetic data with hydraulic head data from major water districts suggests that different regions of the groundwater system are responsible for different temporal components in the observed ground deformation. Short‐term, seasonal ground deformation is caused by compaction of shallower aquifers used for the majority of groundwater production whereas long‐term ground deformation is correlated with delayed compaction of deeper aquifers and potential compressible clay layers. These results demonstrate the potential for geodetic analysis to be an important tool for groundwater management to maintain sustainable pumping practices.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Riel, Bryan0000-0003-1940-3910
Simons, Mark0000-0003-1412-6395
Ponti, Daniel0000-0002-2437-5144
Jolivet, Romain0000-0002-9896-3651
Additional Information:© 2018 American Geophysical Union. Received 13 OCT 2017; Accepted 17 APR 2018; Accepted article online 20 APR 2018; Published online 18 MAY 2018. We thank Peter Martin and Chuck Wicks from the United States Geological Survey (USGS) for their initial review and very helpful comments. We thank Estelle Chaussard, Devin Galloway, and an anonymous reviewer for their comprehensive reviews and suggestions for improving the quality of this manuscript. Original ERS and ENVISAT data are available directly from the European Space Agency at GPS data were acquired from the Scripps Orbit and Permanent Array Center (SOPAC; Water‐level data for Orange County monitoring wells are owned by Orange County Water District and can be requested at Water‐level data for Los Angeles County monitoring wells can be downloaded from
Group:Seismological Laboratory
Subject Keywords:InSAR; hydrology; subsidence
Issue or Number:5
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20180808-081056969
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Riel, B., Simons, M., Ponti, D., Agram, P., & Jolivet, R. (2018). Quantifying ground deformation in the Los Angeles and Santa Ana Coastal Basins due to groundwater withdrawal. Water Resources Research, 54, 3557–3582.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:88641
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:08 Aug 2018 15:44
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 00:28

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