Document Details

California Aqueduct Subsidence Study

California Department of Water Resources (DWR) | June 1st, 2017

In 2006, the San Luis Field Division of the California Department of Water Resources’ Division of Operations and Maintenance (O&M) began to see a reduction in flow capacity through the California Aqueduct (Aqueduct) Pools 20 and 21. Subsidence had lowered portions of the Aqueduct and caused the concrete liner freeboard (the vertical distance between the water surface and the top of the concrete liner) to be reduced from its normal of 3 feet, to less than 1 foot. Subsidence had also decreased the ability to store water in those pools, which is normally done to add operational flexibility and to manage pumping at the Aqueduct’s pumping plants.

While subsidence has reduced the amount of freeboard and flow capacity at specific locations, contracted deliveries have not been curtailed through 2016. Additional work, to be addressed in the next phase of the project, will quantify how hydraulic limitations have impacted operations and will estimate future impacts to deliveries, based on forecasted subsidence rates.

The purpose of this project is to research and study past and present subsidence reports and data, and to understand and summarize the magnitude, location, and effects on the Aqueduct. This report summarizes the significant information found, and presents the results of the data that were analyzed.


Central Valley, infrastructure, State Water Project (SWP), subsidence