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News Release

California Department of Food and Agriculture

Media Contacts: Steve Lyle, CDFA Public Affairs, (916) 654-0462,

California Department of Food and Agriculture
Release #15-046


SACRAMENTO, October 1, 2015 California State Board of Food and Agriculture board members will discuss groundwater management and land subsidence at their next public meeting on Tuesday, October 6th 2015 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the California Department of Food and Agriculture, 1220 'N' Street Main Auditorium, Sacramento, CA 95814. The meeting will also stream online at:

"The current drought has exacerbated the need for groundwater and these precious water reserves are reaching historic lows," said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross. "The purpose of this meeting is to discuss how farmers and landowners can contribute to solutions that minimize the impacts of subsidence and excessive groundwater pumping."

A report recently released by the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), finds land in parts of California's San Joaquin Valley is sinking faster than ever -- nearly two inches per month in some locations. Subsidence, or the sinking of land, has occurred for decades in California because of excessive groundwater pumping during droughts, but the current conditions have forced many in agriculture to rely solely on groundwater for their irrigation water supply. Land subsidence is a threat to private and public infrastructure and can reduce storage capacity in underground aquifers.

In response to this growing issue, and as part of an ongoing effort to respond to California's historic drought, the Governor's Drought Task Force has committed to working with affected communities to develop near-term and long-term recommendations to reduce the rate of sinking and reduce risks to infrastructure. The Governor has also signed historic legislation, including the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, to establish a new structure of managing the State's groundwater, and accomplish goals described in the California Water Action Plan.

Invited speakers for the upcoming Board meeting include: Stephanie Granger, National Aeronautics and Space Administration; David Gutierrez, California Department of Water Resources; Ellen Hanak, Public Policy Institute of California; and Thomas Harter, University of California, Davis.

"The effects of subsidence and groundwater overdraft have tremendous implications that extend to agriculture and beyond," said Craig McNamara, president of the California State Board of Food and Agriculture. "This is a unique opportunity for the Board to engage in further discussions on the impacts of subsidence on our state, and where they are occurring regionally."

The California State Board of Food and Agriculture advises the governor and the CDFA secretary on agricultural issues and consumer needs. The state board conducts forums that bring together local, state and federal government officials, agricultural representatives and citizens to discuss current issues of concern to California agriculture.

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California Department of Food and Agriculture Office of Public Affairs
1220 N St., Ste. 214, Sacramento, CA 95814