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Southern California Geology


USGS Water Resources Division Ground-Water Investigations

The USGS Water Resources Division (WRD) through its California District Office conducts a variety of ground-water and surface-water investigations in southern California. A link to WRD scientific projects in California indicates that projects in southern California mainly originate in two WRD Programs:


The California Coastal Area Program, including southern California projects like:
  • Optimum basin management within the greater San Bernardino Basin region
  • Assessment of Irrigation Drainage in the Salton Sea Area, Imperial Valley, California
  • Effects of Water Banking on Ground-water Flow and Quality in the Rialto-Colton Basin, San Bernardino County, California
  • Analysis of the geohydrology and water-management issues of the Central and West Basins, Los Angeles County, California
  • Simulation Estimates of the Long-Term Water Budget near Hemet, California
  • Santa Ana National Water Quality Assessment (evaluation of water-quality issues within the entire Santa Ana River watershed)

The California Desert/Eastern Sierra Area Program, including southern California projects like:

  • Ground-water Resource Investigations, Edwards Air Force Base, California
  • Ground-water and Surface-water Relations along the Mojave River, California
  • Measurement and Analysis of Potential Land Subsidence in Coachella Valley, California
  • Santa Ana River Stormwater Quality Characterization
  • Surface Water Stations in the Antelope Valley region
  • Aquifer Storage and Recovery Program, Lancaster, California

One online link that is very useful to understanding southern California surface-water and ground-water issues is the U.S. Geological Survey's Ground Water Atlas of the United States-Segment 1 California Nevada (Planert and Williams, 1995). This document contains several interactive contributions, including discussions of (1) aquifer systems in California, (2) the geology and hydrogeology of Coastal Basin aquifers in southern California, and (3) a discussion of Basin and Range aquifers, which includes subtopics on the Salton Trough region and the Antelope Valley region of the western Mojave Desert.


Planert, M., and Williams, J.S., 1995, Ground Water Atlas of the United States-segment 1, California, Nevada: U.S. Geological Survey, Hydrologic Investigations Atlas HA-730-B, 28 p.

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