Read more at University of California - San Diego, Image: New work from UC San Diego could be revolutionary for managing groundwater use in agricultural regions around the world, as groundwater monitoring and management have been notoriously difficult to carry out due to lack of reliable data. For example, despite reports of high water consumption by fruit and nut crops in California, the crop types with the greatest rates of subsidence, and by association the greatest rates of groundwater use, were field crops such as corn and soy, followed by pasture crops like alfalfa, truck crops like tomatoes, and lastly, fruit and nut crops like almonds and grapes. For example, despite reports of high water consumption by fruit and nut crops in California, the crop types with the greatest rates of subsidence, and by association the greatest rates of groundwater use, were field crops such as corn and soy, followed by pasture crops such as alfalfa, truck crops such as tomatoes, and lastly, fruit and nut crops such as almonds and grapes. Over the study period, there was a median 272 millimeters (or 16 inches) of total cumulative subsidence for field crops (like corn and soy), and a dry water year subsidence rate of 131 millimeters (5 inches) per year. The satellite-based InSAR (interferometric synthetic aperture radar) is used to make high-resolution maps of land surface motion in space and time, including measurement of subsidence (or sinking). The U.S. National Science Foundation-funded work could be revolutionary for managing groundwater use in agricultural regions around the world. California needs to preserve its groundwater, and it's turning to satellite monitoring to keep tabs on how it's doing. "What's unique here is the incredibly high spatial resolution of the results. Therefore, InSAR must be combined with other sources of geophysical data to achieve location-specific insight into groundwater use. NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellite mission, launched in 2002, provides the first opportunity to directly measure In the San Joaquin Valley during wet years, farmers may receive up to 100 percent of their surface water allocations, while in extremely dry years, they may receive none. Launched in 1999 (in the era of dial-up!) Subsidence can occur when large amounts of groundwater are removed from underground stores, called aquifers. Subsidence can occur when large amounts of groundwater are removed from underground stores, called aquifers. “Our results suggest the possibility that transitions to fruit and nut cultivation might be desirable, at least from a groundwater sustainability perspective, although more research is needed to confirm this.”. Groundwater monitoring and management have been difficult to carry out due to lack of reliable data. California is an example of a semi-arid and irrigation-dependent climate for agriculture. First, on average fruits and nuts require less water physiologically, compared to field and pasture crops. Groundwater monitoring and management have been difficult to carry out due to lack of reliable data. Thus, groundwater has become increasingly important under climate change, as California and many parts of the world have experienced surface water shortages. Groundwater consumption has become a critical element of urban development and the expansion of human populations into regions that would be otherwise uninhabitable.

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