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Economic and Social Impacts of Land Subsidence: Global and Local Assessments

Click to register today to join us for this virtual webinar by Zoom! 

Tuesday, 21 February, 2023
8:00-10:00 AM Pacific Standard Time

Land subsidence (LS), which is the gradual settling or sudden sinking of land surface, is caused among other things, by the removal of underground water from aquifers or dissolution of salt layers within geological structures caused mainly by groundwater encroachment which is a result of hydraulic imbalance (change in the interface) between surface and ground water bodies. LS has affected many locations around the world both directly (damages to infrastructure), or indirectly (environmental damages, increased risk of flooding of lowered surface, and reduced aquifer storage), to name a few impacts. While the focus of measuring efforts has been given to the physical changes in elevation over time and on the sensitivity of such changes to different levels of groundwater extraction, less attention has been put on the estimation of the economic and social consequences of LS. Difficulties to obtain data on economic and social damages from LS are cited as one of the reasons for lack of such estimates. Given the gigantic global damages from land subsidence, it is essential that experts and policymakers make a joint effort to understand the opportunity cost to society from not assessing properly the economic and social cost of LS, and designing policies and policy interventions to cope with it.

This session is intended to provide preliminary background on global and local damages from LS in order to initiate a discussion aimed to set the stage for proper data collection and establishment of relevant analytical procedures leading to estimation of economic and social impacts from LS. The session will consist of 4 presentations, starting with a global assessment of risk and damage estimates from LS. Then, three local-focused presentations will describe the situation in the Segura Basin in Spain, in the San Joaquin Valley in California, and in the Dead Sea region of Jordan. Each presentation will be followed with a Q&A and a discussion involving the audience.



07:55 AM Zoom Room Opens


08:00 Welcome
Glenda Humiston, Vice President, University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources
Soroosh Sorooshian, Forum Chair and Professor, Civil & Environmental Engineering and Earth System Science, University of California, Irvine


Session moderated by: Ayman Rabi, Palestinian Hydrology Group and Ariel Dinar, Distinguished Professor of Environmental Economics and Policy at the School of Public Policy, University of California, Riverside


8:10 Mapping Global Subsidence and Its Impacts Due to Groundwater Depletion

Gerardo Herrera, Research Professor, Geological Survey of Spain (IGME – CSIC)

[abstract & biography]


8:30 Economic and Social Impacts of Land Subsidence in the San Joaquin Valley, California

Michelle Sneed, Hydrologist, U.S. Geological Survey

[abstract & biography]


8:50 Impacts of Land Subsidence Due to Groundwater Withdrawal in the Segura Basin (SE Spain)

Roberto Tomás, Professor, Dept. of Civil Engineering, Escuela Politécnica Superior de Alicante, Universidad de Alicante,  Alicante, Spain

[abstract & biography]


9:10 The Dead Sea Water Level Lowering - Hazards, Economic and Social Consequences, and Proposed Protection Strategy

Najib Abou Karaki, Professor, The University of Jordan, Amman, Jordan

[abstract & biography]


9:30 Q&A/Discussion -Moderated by:

Ariel Dinar, Distinguished Professor of Environmental Economics and Policy at the School of Public Policy, University of California, Riverside


10:00 Adjourn