Groundwater Pumping Background | A Pragmatist's Take | Douglas Moran | Palo Alto Online |

Local Blogs

A Pragmatist's Take

By Douglas Moran

E-mail Douglas Moran

About this blog: Real power doesn't reside with those who make the final decision, but with those who decide what qualifies as the viable choices. I stumbled across this insight as a teenager (in the 1960s). As a grad student, I belonged to an org...  (More)

View all posts from Douglas Moran

Groundwater Pumping Background

Uploaded: Mar 1, 2017
Groundwater pumping (dewatering) regulations are on the City Council agenda for a special meeting on Tuesday March 7 beginning at 6pm. There are two parts: incremental changes for the 2017-8 and to provide Staff with directions for further enhancements,(foot#1) These directions that will determine the options that Staff subsequently presents, which will limit what Council can approve.(foot#2)

There are many conflicting attitudes toward this groundwater at City Hall. For example, in the City's document on water resources, this water is labeled as a "nuisance" and stated that current regulations were the result of "recent public concern over the appearance of wasted water" (emphasis added).(foot#3) The comments to the news coverage over the years demonstrates many misconceptions.(foot#4) My intention here is to provide some background that addresses the biggest of these misconceptions and hopefully reduce some of the clutter in the discussion of the policy.

Recognize that there are two parts to the policy discussions. First, the immediate impacts of dewatering at individual sites involve water and soils near the surface and in the immediate vicinity of the site (hundreds of feet?). Second, the cumulative long-term impacts that affect a much larger area, and consequently involve more factors and variability.

----Intuition on basement dewatering----

The advocates for stronger measures to limit dewatering cite several examples, with the largest being at 736 Garland Drive (map). The Staff report estimates 30.8 million gallons of ground water were pumped (note: earlier Staff reports had different estimates). Part of the advocates' argument is that this pumping is an exorbitant share of a public/community resource. In 2016, 140 million gallons of groundwater was pumped out during the construction of 8 residential basements for an average of 17.5 million gallons. This total is equivalent to the annual usage of 5,000 average homes for landscape irrigation alone (28,000 gallons each) or the total water usage of 1500 homes (roughly 93,000 gallons per home). Using the Garland property for another visualization, the 95 acre-feet of water pumped out during basement construction would be enough to cover that 0.24 acre property to a depth of almost 400 feet. Another visualization is to consider it from a deposit-withdrawal perspective: A very simplistic calculation has this being over 300 years of rainfall on that property.(foot#5) For reference, the expedition of Gaspar de Portola arrived less than 250 years ago (1769).

----"The Aquifers"----

References to an "aquifer" means very different things in different contexts. Different types of soils can hold very different amounts of water and water moves through them at different rates. For example, consider the case of toxic chemicals that seeped into the groundwater at an industrial site. Someone worried about the spread of those chemicals and about protecting drinking water that is drawn from deep underground will talk about the underground strata as forming a collection of aquifers and will focus on where the pollution can most easily move between the aquifers, and will regard layers of clay soil as impervious. On the other hand, someone focused on recharging the deeper stratum understands that even though water moves only very slowly through those clay layers, the massive predominance of those clay layers means that they are major conveyors of water to deeper and deeper layers. They can be more important than the limited locations where the soils are such that they allow faster movement between the various depths.

Note: In many informal discussions, such as here, the terms "shallow aquifer", "water table", and "ground water" are often used in an overlapping manner. I am going to be sloppy in my terminology in service of giving the reader a better intuition about the situations.

----Alluvial fans (deltas)----

One common misconception is that the shallow aquifer is analogous to a lake. Instead, there is considerable variability and complexity to the aquifer. Start with almost all of Palo Alto being built on the alluvial fans of San Francisquito Creek (map) and the other creeks, starting a bit below Foothill Expressway/Junipero Serra Blvd.(foot#6) This is relevant because when a creek overflows its banks (floods), it drops heavier sediment closer to the channel and carries lighter and finer sediments further away. These patterns influence where there are soils that can hold water and how quickly water moves through those soils.

Detail: The banks of a creek get built up incrementally by successive flooding events, especially lesser floods where the small, slower flows drop most of their material near the creeks. With the creek channel becoming higher than the surrounding land there will eventually be a break-out that cuts a new channel. This is the same hydrology as for big rivers, but before I saw the above map, I hadn't thought of its relevance to the local creeks.

Detail: There is a lesser effect for tiny creeks such as Barron Creek. On old maps, creeks like it were simply identified as "Dry Creek", that is, a creek that has water only when it is raining. The old maps show a short fan of oak trees below the Gunn HS fields, with the strong inference that it didn't have a permanent channel to the Bay before the late 1800s. In very large storms, water from Barron Creek cut across the fields to empty into Matadero Creek (roughly following current day La Para Ave then La Donna and Whitsell: map).

Detail: Invisible creeks: Most Palo Altans think that there are no creeks between San Francisquito Creek and Matadero, but when you stop to think about the topology you should realize that there must have been some small creeks that have been supplanted by the storm drain system. Look at the map of the Matadero Creek watershed--I suggest the enlarged view. It shows Santa Rita Creek that may have one reached Bowden Park (Alma and Oregon). Similarly for an unnamed creek that is shown as once having ended on the Stanford campus somewhere near Campus Drive and O'Connor Lane (Koret Pavilion)--perhaps the irregular path there is testimony to its former presence.

Summary: It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that the creeks have always been where there currently are, and thus you can make predictions about the subsurface soils based upon that. That also applies to creeks that have been re-routed and to those that no longer exist--replaced by a storm drain system. The complexity of what materials got laid down when, where and to what thickness means that the situation in different sections of the city can be very different.

----Earthquake faults----

The next layer of complexity comes from earthquake faults, with most being thought to no longer be active being irrelevant. What is relevant is how they deformed the subsurface materials. Most of the faults under Palo Alto are thought to be various types of thrust faults, unlike the San Andreas which is a strike-slip fault. Some thrust faults involve one side pushing up over the over the other, so that a stratum that is 10 feet deep on one size can be 100 feet deep on the other. Others don't produce much vertical displacement, but the ramming together of the two sides so compacts the soil that it becomes a dam within the aquifer, blocking water movement between the sides.

I learned about these complexities in the 1990s because of groundwater pollution from various sites in the Stanford Research Park moving into my (Barron Park) neighborhood. I am computer scientist, not a geologist. The contractors attempting to plot the spread of the pollutants were surprised by the pattern. First, they discovered that there was a fault under the Bol Park Bike and Pedestrian Path that pushed down the stratum for the shallow aquifer from the Research Park, disconnecting it from the shallow aquifer under most of Barron Park. Unfortunately, this was negated by Matadero Creek. The pollution was in groundwater so close to the surface that it flowed into the creek, and then down the creek past this fault and then percolating into separate shallow aquifers there.(foot#7)

Recognize that maps of faults in this area involve a lot of deduction from sparse data--by the time geologists had the funding to explore for lesser faults, the area was already so heavily developed that it was too difficult and expensive to do so. For example, in the 1.2 mile stretch between Foothill Expressway and El Camino near me, all the maps of the "Quaternary Faults" (active within the last 1.6 million years) list the Pulgas, Hanover and Stanford faults, but some include one or two additional faults and the line on the map for the middle of the Stanford fault zone varying by 0.2 miles (the fine print warns you of this uncertainty).

The maps show no faults between El Camino and the bay, but it is unlikely that this area doesn't have the same patterns found on both sides (the mapping of faulting under the bay is relatively recent). In other words, the gap on the maps is most likely a gap in knowledge, or more famously "The absence of evidence should not be regarded as evidence of absence."


One of the repeated misconceptions in the earlier discussions was that there was a massive sheet of ground water moving down from the foothills into the shallow aquifer on the valley floor. This is a common explanation for the artesian wells that use to dot the valley to the south of here. (Aside: Most of these wells no longer flow because of excessive groundwater pumping.) The analyses I have seen claim that the shallow aquifers under Palo Alto are not connected to the foothills, but rather start at the Pulgas Fault (roughly Foothill Expressway and Junipero Serra Blvd), or the Hanover Fault (Hanover Street extending into the Stanford Campus and Barron Park). Consequently, recharging of the shallow aquifer comes from two sources: local rainfall and percolation from the creeks.

Local rainfall has become less effective in recharging the groundwater because of impermeable surfaces such as buildings, streets, parking lots, driveways, walkways, and patios. I have seen estimates that 20-30% of Palo Alto is covered by impermeable surfaces, but it is hard to do a sanity check: I have visited houses that have only a tiny amount of lawn and landscaping in the front and the backyard covered by a patio, and I have visited houses with extensive yards and gardens. Then there are the parks, playgrounds ... Although the building codes have been updated to include measures to reduce runoff, when a property is predominantly impermeable surfaces, the remaining portions can absorb only so much at a time.

One guess is that between impermeable surfaces and natural runoff, about 50% of rainfall gets into the aquifer.

While San Francisquito Creek still has a natural channel that allows percolation, the other creeks have concrete channels starting at El Camino, or above. Adding water to the creeks during the dry season has to be carefully considered because of how it changes the habitat--both causing problems for native flora and fauna and making it viable for invasive species.


Another misconception from the earlier discussions was that landscaping, including trees, doesn't have roots that go deep enough to reach usable groundwater. Nonsense. Near the bay (Louis Road), the water table starts the dry season around 4-5 feet deep and recedes to 7 feet in summer. In other areas, the water table tends to be found at 10-20 feet deep. Coastal Live Oaks have roots that can go down 36 feet (US Forest Service) in addition to their roots near the surface. If you have a yard, you likely know that an acorn focuses its energy on quickly putting down a long taproot. Other California native plants have very deep root systems, for example, California Purple Needle Grass (still the official state grass) puts roots down 20 feet. And a fair number of non-natives have deep roots.


For the typical soils here (clay), subsidence is not a temporary problem: Once the water has been sucked out, it doesn't readily return. Alviso is the local cautionary example: Excessive pumping in the early 1900s caused it to sink 13 feet. Between the 1920s and 1960s, groundwater pumping caused 2-4 feet of subsidence in Palo Alto, leading to it (and nearby cities) to restrict such pumping.

At the Garland dewatering site, properties 3-4 lots away (220 feet) saw the water table lowered by 3 feet. This amount can cause 0.5 to 1 inch of permanent subsidence. Because of the rate of dewatering, subsidence may not be uniform across those neighboring properties, resulting in enough warping of the frames of doors and windows to cause them to stick or jam, or even in damage to the foundation of the house.

One of the frustrations of the neighbors of these dewatering sites has been that their reports of subsidence have been dismissed with a variety of arguments:
- it is all in the homeowner's imagination,
- it is from other causes, such as the drought (although not explaining why this would affect those houses and not others),
- groundwater doesn't move freely enough to have that effect on neighboring properties, and
- groundwater moves freely enough so that any flowing from the neighbors' properties would be replace by groundwater from beyond that.

----Goes to the bay----

One of the absurdist arguments made repeatedly during previous discussions was that since the groundwater eventually makes it way to the bay, there is no difference in pumping it into the storm drains because it winds up in the same location. This is analogous to a stranger walking into your house and pouring all your wine down the toilet, saying that it was going to wind up there eventually. Or if the City decided that water mains and sewer lines were a nuisance and that water should sent directly from the Hetch Hetchy system to the bay.

----Basements as dams----

Often intertwined with concerns about groundwater depletion by dewatering is a concern that too many basements will disrupt the flow within the shallow aquifer. Recognize that many basements occupy a substantial portion of the property, especially the width (potentially being built up to the minimum setbacks). For example, on a 60 foot wide lot (current minimum) with 6-foot side setbacks, the basement would occupy 80% of the lot width. Actually it is worse than that because certain features, such as light wells, can be located in the setbacks.

The cumulative effects of basements on multiple properties in a small area could be substantial. The problem with predicting this is that we know so very little about the detailed structure of the aquifers. Recognize that groundwater moves easiest through coarse materials--gravel, sand ...--which are also the materials that settle out first (closest to the creek channel). But predicting these deposits requires knowledge about the pattern and size of ancient flooding, and where the creek channel was at that time.

----Rights and wrongs----

Dewatering is an instance of the classic arguments about the tradeoff between individual rights and public/community rights. These well-fleshed out arguments can be useful in thinking about this particular case.

In economics, these discussion are often under the topic of "Externality". For example, if an individual or city chooses to save money by dumping untreated sewage into a river, they are inflicting the costs of sewage treatment on an external party, that is, those downstream who now have to spend more on treating water from the river and who suffer the loss of the use of the river itself for various purposes (example, fishing, swimming).(foot#8)

Another analogy from economics is the thought experiment "The Tragedy of the Commons" in which an unregulated shared resource is over-exploited by individuals, resulting in the destruction of that resource. This analysis is often used to argue for private ownership by creating in a false dichotomy between that and an unregulated shared resources. However, in the real world, the commons of the story were in fact regulated by a mix of informal and formal means and didn't suffer from the hypothetical tragedy.

1. Council Agenda with link to Staff Report (7 page overview with 410 pages of attachments).

2. From my introduction as a blogger: "Real power doesn't reside with those who make the final decision, but with those who decide what qualifies as the viable choices. I stumbled across this insight as a teenager (in the 1960s)."

3. Section ==I "7. Nuisance Groundwater from Basement Dewatering"== in "2017 Water Integrated Resource Plan", tentatively item #3 on City Council Agenda for 2017-03-06 as part of the Consent Calendar (that is, scheduled to be adopted without debate).

4.Stories Chronologically.
News: "Basement groundwater pumping raises concerns", 2010-11-19
"Guest Opinion: Groundwater in Palo Alto is a valuable resource, not construction waste", 2015-12-11
Town Square Forums: "Why is Ground Water Pumping Still Allowed in Palo Alto?", 2015-04-09
News: "Groundwater pumping irks Palo Alto residents", 2015-04-28
News: "Palo Alto residents pumped up about groundwater 'waste'", 2015-11-27
News: "Palo Alto prepares to plumb the mysteries of groundwater", 2015-12-02
News: "Palo Alto firms up rules for pumping groundwater", 2016-02-02
News: "This year, Palo Alto wasted 140 million gallons of groundwater", 2016-12-14

5. 300 years of rainfall has two problems. First it is measure based on the faulty assumption that all rainfall went into the shallow aquifer--no runoff, evaporation or use by plants--and that it stays there, not moving into deeper aquifers or to creeks or to the bay. Second, it uses the recent average annual rainfall of 15 inches because the longer term average is unknown. Aside: After the flooding and the drought of the 1980s, climatologists reported that the previous century had been one of the mildest in California history, and that the norm was big storms and long droughts.

6. Creek & Watershed Map of Palo Alto & Vicinity Oakland Museum of California, 2005.
There is only basic detail on creeks other than San Francisquito.

7. Creeks have gaining and losing segments, that is, segments where groundwater enters the creek because the water table is higher than the creekbed and segments where water from the creek percolates into the ground because the water table is lower. In this area, there can be frequent alternation between gaining and losing segments, and this provides hints about locations of ancient faults that folded the underground strata.

8. I was in college in Boston in the early 1970s. To impress upon us how polluted the Charles River was, we were told (urban legend?) of a student on a LSD trip who jumped into the river. In treating him, the hospital's first concern was the water he swallowed, the second was the water on his skin, then the injuries from the fall.
Similarly, showering was the first priority for members of the crew team (rowing) at the end of practice.

An abbreviated index by topic and chronologically is available.

----Boilerplate on Commenting----
The Guidelines for comments on this blog are different from those on Town Square Forums. I am attempting to foster more civility and substantive comments by deleting violations of the guidelines.

I am particularly strict about misrepresenting what others have said (me or other commenters). If I judge your comment as likely to provoke a response of "That is not what was said", do not be surprised to have it deleted. My primary goal is to avoid unnecessary and undesirable back-and-forth, but such misrepresentations also indicate that the author is unwilling/unable to participate in a meaningful, respectful conversation on the topic.

If you behave like a Troll, do not waste your time protesting when you get treated like one.


 +   7 people like this
Posted by Bob Wenzlau, a resident of Crescent Park,
on Mar 1, 2017 at 7:22 am

Bob Wenzlau is a registered user.

A few observations from my musing on this subject area. I appreciated the breadth you brought to us - a real gift.

1) The shallow groundwater (or first encountered) occurs most likely from local rainfall than from the upstream reaches of the watershed. The stream flows from the upper watershed of San Fransiquito creek would not have an impact on our shallow groundwater regime. The take away is local infiltration matters to our local shallow groundwater system.

2) Conversely the groundwater in the deeper bodies (> 100 feet) that can be productive for water supply are in a regime where their recharge has less to do with rainfall in Palo Alto. The take away for me is that local management of shallow groundwater would not impact our emergency water supply system such as the deep wells we have scattered around town.

3) There are several major ongoing dewatering at Oregon Expressway, City Hall and Stanford Hospital have do much to define the regime in the shallow water. While there are one time projects, we should keep an eye and consider plans toward permanent dewatering features that might enjoy consideration as well. While the permanent dewatering would not cause subsidence given they have been present for decades, they do affect the overall water balance in our system. The impact here is that we should also consider plans for the water associated with longterm dewatering.

4) Another exhibit in your wonderful maps could be a map of the shallow groundwater system in Palo Alto - this map shows depth. The levels again are up about 2 to 3 feet now. As I constructed the maps with Laura Erban (a then Stanford hydrology post doc), I observed that the depth to groundwater is also the same number as the elevation of the groundwater system. For example where the depth is 10 feet, the elevation of the groundwater surface is about 10 feet, and therefore the surface elevation is 20 feet. So around town, the shallow groundwater occurs about half the elevation one stands on. The map is as a PDF.

Web Link

5) Similar to your observations that basements might form damns to shallow groundwater flow, the occurrence of shallow groundwater contamination across town poses similar barriers. We should not infiltrate stormwater above plumes, we should not dewater in projects near plumes, and obviously occupancy poses risk of vapor intrusion. These plumes are a now permanent feature of our groundwater system. My only policy statement is that while on the Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC) on the Comprehensive Plan, I urged the City set a policy that these plumes be cleaned, in the turbulence of that venue, these themes could not draw the attention of staff or the CAC.

 +   5 people like this
Posted by Save Palo Alto's Groundwater, a resident of Old Palo Alto,
on Mar 1, 2017 at 11:26 am

1) This article is a very nice summary.
Save Palo Alto's Groundwater has collected reference materials in the "Reports" section of our website:

Web Link

2) Bob's observation that the groundwater level is half the elevation is very interesting. The groundwater fluctuates somewhat with the seasons, but during hard rains, can rise quite a lot for short periods of time (1 - 2 weeks). The summer levels are quite stable (in the absence of pumping), whether it's a wet or dry year.

3) Recharge of deeper aquifer levels
The pressure in the deeper aquifer levels (i.e. water level) increases following rain - in fact, the only local source of recharge of the deeper aquifers is precipitation. Records of water levels at various locations (including Palo Alto) are maintained by the Santa Clara Valley Water District:
Web Link

Since rainwater must flow through the surface / shallow aquifer levels to get to the deeper aquifer, water in the shallow aquifer must get to the deeper aquifer? The response is fast (less than a week), and if only rainfall on Stanford land is available for recharge, the amount of groundwater available in Palo Alto on a sustained basis must be far less than current estimates. The logical conclusion is that some of the water that falls as rain over Palo Alto must somehow get to the deeper aquifer levels, or Palo Alto is drawing water from other areas, or Palo Alto has much less sustainable groundwater available than is believed.

However, the shallow groundwater is, in fact a resource that could be used for irrigation and many other purposes. In most places, the water quality is quite high, which is documented by the testing required for discharge to the stormdrains.

And, there's no need to discharge this groundwater to build basements.

 +   4 people like this
Posted by Douglas Moran, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Mar 1, 2017 at 1:23 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

Adding emphasis: Recognize that three attributes of the shallow water are related but not the same:
- groundwater level
- rate of flow through the ground
- how much water can be held by the soil in a particular layer at a given location.

The rate of flow and holding capacity determine how widespread the effects of dewatering are on the level and how quickly the previous level is established.

 +   4 people like this
Posted by musical, a resident of Palo Verde,
on Mar 2, 2017 at 3:17 am

Some people want to dig a fairly deep trench across all of Palo Alto, and lay rails in it.
I haven't heard any thought how this might affect groundwater, particulary at the south end.

 +   2 people like this
Posted by Save Palo Alto's Groundwater, a resident of Old Palo Alto,
on Mar 2, 2017 at 7:42 am

@Bob Wenzlau
You're right - the use of water pumped from the Oregon Expressway Underpass, City Hall and Stanford Hospital should not be ignored. The pump under City Hall is pumping now, but it was not pumping last summer. No one seems to know how much water is pumped there. Ihe pumping under Oregon Expressway is measured, and it's about one-half the amount that was pumped for the construction of 8 basements in 2016. I don't know about Stanford Hospital.

You are correct - an underground tunnel for the rails would, unless mitigated block groundwater flows across the City, and should be carefully studied. The impacts of a high concentration of basements on stormwater handling capabilities of our soils/ aquifer has also been overlooked. Basements both reduce the volume of soil available to absorb stormwaters and block the flows, like sticks in a sream.

Most people haven't yet realized all rain flows on the surface and into the stormdrainswhen the soil is saturated to the surface. The groundwater rose to less than 4 feet from ground surface at Louis Road and N. California (9 feet above sea level) during the recent storms, and was certainly higher in 1982 and 1998.

 +   3 people like this
Posted by Foundation Engineer, a resident of Greenmeadow,
on Mar 2, 2017 at 8:34 am


Just for the record, are you a trained geotechnical engineer, civil engineer, structural engineer, architect, landscape architect, arborist, or hydrologist?

Many thanks

[[Blogger: As I stated in the main text (paragraph 2 of "Earthquake Faults"), I am a computer scientist who learned much of what I summarized here by listening to the experts during the cleanup of groundwater pollution of the aquifers under my neighborhood (I was a member of the Barron Park Association's Board).

This blog is a consolidation of the summaries by the experts, with URLs and search terms, and links to the prior public debate.

Also, as an example, one doesn't need to be a certified arborist to give a link to a US Forest Service webpage that has information contrary to unsupported claims made in the prior public debate.

 +   3 people like this
Posted by Me 2, a resident of Old Palo Alto,
on Mar 2, 2017 at 8:39 am


@SavePaloAltoGroundwater: Are you actually reading the studies on your website? Here's a beauty from one of the documents:

"Because the deflection is temporary and very localized, and because groundwater levels at the sites recover rapidly once pumping has ceased, there appears to be no discernible long-term effect on the surface aquifer."

This is hilarious.

 +   6 people like this
Posted by Save Palo Alto's Groundwater, a resident of Old Palo Alto,
on Mar 2, 2017 at 3:26 pm

@Me 2
Yes, we read the EIP study.
The EIP study is factually incorrect, and does not pertain to basement construction dewatering in Palo Alto as it is currently practiced.

See the graphs on our website:
Web Link

They estimated 8 - 10 million gallons pumped over 100 - 150 days, or a pumping rate of 30 - 50 gallons per minute, or 30 - 60 gallons per minute.
The measured pumping was 6 - 30 million gallons in 70 days, and up to 300 gallons per minute. That's a factor of 5 or 10 different.

The EIP reported predicted that the water table pulldown would be "a few inches" at a distance of "10's of feet from the dewatering site." Measured water table pull down was 6 feet at a distance of 45 feet, and 2.5 feet at a distance of 220 feet.
Not even close.

Further, the total impacts considered by the EIP report was for ~4 dewatering projects per year, not the 8 - 15 per year now.

Dewatering, as currently practiced in Palo Alto is simply unsustainable and unnecessary.

 +   4 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon, a resident of Downtown North,
on Mar 2, 2017 at 4:34 pm

@Foundation Engineer

How about sharing your own expertise? Like, techniques for underwater construction have existed for centuries. Why can't people apply them to building basement foundations without dewatering?

 +  Like this comment
Posted by Save Palo Alto's Groundwater, a resident of Old Palo Alto,
on Mar 4, 2017 at 11:47 am

You are correct. Underwater construction is, in fact, quite standard in areas of high groundwater in the Netherlands. Dewatering the way it's practice here simply doesn't work in many areas. There's no fundamental reason the same or similar methods couldn't be used here.

 +   3 people like this
Posted by musical, a resident of Palo Verde,
on Mar 4, 2017 at 12:07 pm

I suspect the fundamental reason for our dewatering practice, like for everything else, is money.

 +  Like this comment
Posted by Rita Vrhel, a resident of Crescent Park,
on Mar 4, 2017 at 9:23 pm

Dear ME2... so easy to criticize; so hard to work 16 months on saving our groundwater and still see pointless and fake emails posted on this important topic.

Please listen to the timely and informational 17 minute presentation 3/3/17 Science Friday with Ira Flatow: "Has California's 5 year Drought Washed Away?

A Climatologist and Principal Investigator, both from NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab discuss warming weather in California, the change from receiving precipitation as rain rather than snow and the role of groundwater in supplying water to California. I am sure you will be impressed by what is said.

The EIP report unfortunately was seen as the "Bible" regarding groundwater extraction and dumping in Palo Alto for many years. All faulty information when read in total. Finally the error has been acknowledged and changes are being made.

Please come to the Tues 3/7 special City Council meeting @ 6pm and speak. listen and learn.

Thank you Doug for your always well researched and footnoted blogs.

 +  Like this comment
Posted by Ken Scholz, a resident of Green Acres,
on Mar 6, 2017 at 8:35 am

Useful information - things often are "more complicated than they appear at first glance".

It would be useful to know how others have solved the problem of construction in areas where pumping isn't practical, including both the benefits and the potential consequences of those methods.

[[Blogger: I have not delved into this myself. The Web Link of the advocacy group "Save Palo Alto's Grounwater" provides background on this. Note: This is the same website as provided by that group in the second comment on this group.

Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.


Follow this blogger (Receive an email when blogger makes a new post)


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

California Democrats seek to revive the Republican Party; Republicans expected to resist
By Douglas Moran | 28 comments | 2,698 views

Chocolate + Tahini Ice Box Pie
By Laura Stec | 0 comments | 1,130 views

Love is a Verb
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 701 views

Oh, My Aching Knees
By Max Greenberg | 14 comments | 640 views


Save $5 when you register by Monday, July 24

Registration is now open for the 33rd annual Palo Alto Weekly Moonlight Run and Walk. This family-friendly event which benefits local nonprofits serving kids and families will take place on Friday, Oct. 6 at the Palo Alto Baylands.

Register Here