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Report: Groundwater pumping in California drought causes land to sink faster than in past

This July 23, 2015 photo provided by the California Department of Water Resources shows The Russell Avenue bridge, over the Delta Mendota Canal in Firebaugh, Calif., The  drought has caused the bridge to subside until there’s almost no space between bottom of bridge decking and canal water surface. A NASA scientist says in a report released Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015 that parts of California’s Central Valley are sinking faster than ever as groundwater is being pumped during the state’s historic drought. (Florence Low/ California Department of Water Resources via AP)

This July 23, 2015 photo provided by the California Department of Water Resources shows The Russell Avenue bridge, over the Delta Mendota Canal in Firebaugh, Calif., The drought has caused the bridge to subside until there’s almost no space between bottom of bridge decking and canal water surface. A NASA scientist says in a report released Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015 that parts of California’s Central Valley are sinking faster than ever as groundwater is being pumped during the state’s historic drought. (Florence Low/ California Department of Water Resources via AP)  (The Associated Press)

New research by NASA scientist shows vast areas of California's Central Valley are sinking faster than previously thought as massive amounts of groundwater are pumped during the historic drought.

The research released Wednesday says that in some places the ground is sinking nearly two inches a month.

Mark Cowin, head of the California Department of Water Resources, says the sinking land is causing costly damage to major canals that deliver water up and down the state.

The report says land near the city of Corcoran sank 13 inches in eight months and part of the California Aqueduct has sunk eight inches in four months last year.