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Southern California Geology


Ground-Water Resources in Southern California

Ground water is a major source of water for southern California. This underground water occurs in two major settings:


Rather than being distributed homogeneously in these environments, ground water usually occurs in discrete underground compartments (subsurface basins) whose boundaries are determined by local geologic conditions. In each basin, the top of the ground-water body (water table) commonly lies at a different level-reflecting ground-water flow conditions within each basin and reflecting the impermeable nature of many basin boundaries.

Various Federal, State, County, and water-district entities have the responsibility to investigate ground-water basins from several points of view:


  • What are the geologic controls on basin development and basin boundaries?
  • How does water flow into, through, and out of each basin (ground-water modeling studies)?
  • What are the natural-recharge pathways for each basin?
  • What are the rates of water loss and water input into each basin?
  • Is ground-subsidence and ground-surface deformation occurring within the basins as a consequence of ground-water withdrawal?
  • Can artificially recharged water be stored (banked) in some basins during wet winters, to be used (withdrawn) during drier years?
  • Are some basins at risk to natural and human-introduced toxics?

Ground-water and surface-water investigations in southern California are conducted by Federal, State, County, and regional entities, including:


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This site last updated September 3, 2004 (ps)

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