Stockton Record, 12/15/2009

FRESNO – The San Joaquin River basin is being sucked dry by aggressive agricultural pumping, according to new satellite data.

Measurements acquired for the first time from outer space show the combined amount of water lost in the San Joaquin and Sacramento river basins within the past six years could almost fill the nation’s largest reservoir, Lake Mead in Nevada.

The research shows that the vast underground pools feeding faucets and irrigation hoses across California are running low, a worrisome trend that federal scientists attribute to farmland irrigation practices.

A shrinking underground aquifer has long been a problem in eastern San Joaquin County.

The data – gathered from October 2003 through March of this year – was obtained by scientists tracking how Earth’s gravitational pull on twin satellites changed as the amount of water stored in the Sacramento and San Joaquin river basins dried up.

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