Water resources are being challenged to meet domestic, agricultural, and industrial needs. To complement finite surface water supplies that are being stressed by changes in precipitation and increased demand, groundwater is increasingly being used. Sustaining groundwater use requires considering both water quantity and quality. A unique challenge for groundwater use, as compared with surface water, is the presence of naturally occurring contaminants within aquifer sediments, which can enter the water supply. Here we find that recent groundwater pumping, observed through land subsidence, results in an increase in aquifer arsenic concentrations in the San Joaquin Valley of California. By comparison, historic groundwater pumping shows no link to current groundwater arsenic concentrations. Our results support the premise that arsenic can reside within pore water of clay strata within aquifers and is released due to overpumping. We provide a quantitative model for using subsidence as an indicator of arsenic concentrations correlated with groundwater pumping.


Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Arsenic; Ground Water; Surface Water, Aquifer Pollution; Arsenic; Concentration (Composition); Groundwater; Groundwater-Surface Water Interaction; Porewater; Pumping; Water Demand; Water Resource; Water Use, Aquifer; Article; California; Comparative Study; Concentration (Parameters); Controlled Study; Evapotranspiration; Groundwater Overpumping; Human; Human Activities; Sediment; Water And Water Related Phenomena; Water Contamination; Water Supply; Water Temperature, California; San Joaquin Valley; United States

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Document Type

Article - Journal

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Final Version

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Publication Date

01 Jun 2018

Included in

Hydrology Commons