Spatiotemporal Groundwater Storage Dynamics and Aquifer Mechanical Properties in the Santa Clara Valley Inferred From InSAR Deformation Over 2017-2022

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American Geophysical Union


We used Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR)-derived vertical land motion (VLM) timeseries during 2017–2022 to examine the compounding impacts of natural and anthropogenic processes on groundwater dynamics in the Santa Clara Valley (SCV). VLM strongly correlates (>0.75) with groundwater level in both unconfined and confined aquifers. We show that VLM in SCV is mainly driven by groundwater dynamics in deep aquifer layers below 120 m. Our results show that during the most recent drought from March 2019 to November 2021, Santa Clara County subsided up to 30 mm due to groundwater depletion, three times as large as average seasonal amplitude of VLM. Owing to the managed aquifer recharge, the region has been able to avoid unrecoverable land subsidence. We utilize InSAR data to calibrate storage coefficient and lag time related to delayed response of clay interbeds to groundwater level changes, which further serves to estimate groundwater volume loss in confined aquifer units during drought.



InSAR, Sentinel-1, groundwater, subsidence, Santa Clara Valley