For more information about Texas specific subsidence please visit the Aquifer Vulnerability Report
Subsidence is a multi-faceted problem that affects groundwater and surface water systems, transportation, utilities, and building infrastructure.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), subsidence is "sinking of the ground because of underground material movement and it is most often caused by the removal of water, oil, natural gas, or mineral resources out of the ground by pumping, fracking, or mining activities."
Subsidence Working Group
Land deformation/subsidence can be measured via various surveying techniques using Global Positioning System (GPS), Satellite Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR), or other methods. Each of these methods creates a large amount of data. Recently, researchers and various agencies have collected subsidence data in a variety of ways. However, it is not common to share the collected data with other stakeholders. This lack of sharing is understood to be due in part to the absence of a centralized sharing platform. After conducting a subsidence workshop (September 2022) and survey led by the Texas Integrated Flooding Framework (TIFF) project, many researchers and practitioners were interested in improved sharing of subsidence data and seeing what data was available on a statewide basis. The TWDB sees significant value in a centralized dashboard that contains subsidence datasets from various sources. This dashboard could be used in the future by others (e.g., local) entities to submit and store their locally developed subsidence related data, models, and consideration as input for development of a future predictive subsidence tool across the state of Texas. This predictive tool could be an input into future flood modeling across the state of Texas looking at land use and terrain changes for the future. This data sharing will benefit Texans with data for groundwater management plans used by Groundwater Conservation Districts (GCDs), research on sea level rise impacts/flooding, research on land use changes, and other topics.
The data requires geographic location in relation to specific projects that are developed and included in each dataset. The TWDB is working on trying to fill this gap by supporting efforts to facilitate creating, sharing data, and maintaining a centralized dashboard for subsidence data. In order to be able do this task we recommend the Subsidence Working Group (a group of cross-divisional TWDB staff from the Surface Water, Flood Science and Community Assistance, and Groundwater) continue researching and advancing subsidence with the next steps. For more information, or if you are interested in presenting or collaborating, please contact:
- Alberto Jimenez, Groundwater Group
- Khushboo Agarwal, Flood Modeling Group
- Amin Kiaghadi, Coastal Sciences Group
- Jenna Rao, Flood Modeling Group
- Saul Nuccitelli, Director, FSCA
- The TWDB is tasked with guiding the development of a statewide water resource data collection and dissemination network.
There are several TWDB statutes mentioning subsidence in various places. One example is:
- Groundwater conservation management plans, which the TWDB reviews for administrative completeness, must include goals for controlling and preventing subsidence (Tex. Water Code §36.1071).
The Texas Integrated Flooding Framework (TIFF) is a multi-state/federal agency effort funded by GLO/HUD with funding going towards three active partners - TWDB, USACE, and USGS to improve the framework within which riverine and coastal flooding is considered in Texas. The TWDB and the steering committee members of the TIFF hosted a virtual subsidence workshop on September 7, 2022. The results/summary of the workshop are below:
- Our goal of the workshop was to improve statewide coordination for subsidence data collection and sharing.
- We gathered insights from subsidence experts about acquisition and resource needs for advancing subsidence data in Texas.
- 177 people participated.
- There were nine pre-recorded presentations with discussion and question-and-answer among the presenters and participants.
- Many researchers and practitioners were interested in improved sharing of subsidence data and seeing what data was available on a statewide basis.
- Per workshop participants interests and suggestions, the TWDB developed Subsidence Brown Bag presentation series for Winter/Spring 2023 and 2024. Please see the presentation schedule below. The links to these talks are provided in “PAST WEBINARS” section.
- January 12th:
- The Land Surface—Groundwater Nexus: A case study, the science, and the big picture by John Ellis from USGS (we have abstract & Video)
- February 9th:
- HGSD Data Overview by Ashley Greuter from Harris-Galveston Subsdience District
- March 9th:
- New Preconsolidation Heads Following the Long-Term Hydraulic-Head Decline and Recovery in Houston, Texas by Dr. Bob Wang University of Houston
- April 13th:
- Spatial and temporal variations in groundwater levels of the Gulf Coast Aquifer System: Implications for land subsidence by Dr. Shuhab Khan University of Houston
- May 11th:
- Latest InSAR subsidence results long the Gulf Coast and how we were able to integrate these satellite observations to storm surge models (developed by Clint Dawson's team) to analysis flood risks among different communities by Dr. Ann Chen
- June 8th:
- surface water transmission lines needed to convert areas from groundwater to surface water by Michael Ereti City or Houston
- July 13th:
- The history of the National Geodetic Survey estimating subsidence in the Houston-Galveston region by Dave Zilkoski
- August 10th:
- GEOGULF Model by John Ellis, Interra
- September 13th:
- Measuring Vertical Land Motion for Sea Level Rise by David Bekaert, NASA
- October 12th:
- California Department of Water Resource's Land Subsidence Monitoring and Reporting by, Benjamin Brezing and Steven Springhorn, Updates on Subsidence Data in California
- November 9th:
- Dr. Manhosh from Virginia Tech, Measuring, modelling and projecting coastal land subsidence
- February 8th:
- Mike Keester from R. W. Harden & Associates, Inc., Investigating the Potential for Subsidence Due to Groundwater Pumping from Texas Aquifers
- March 14th:
Texas Coastal Subsidence Measurements - InSAR, Tide Gauges, GPS, and Benchmarks' by UTCBI Dr. Richard Smith - Executive Director of the Conrad Blucher Institute for Surveying and Science at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi (TAMU-CC)
- Dr. Tianxing Chu - Assistant Professor in Geospatial Systems Engineering at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi (TAMU-CC), Associate Director of the Measurement Analytics (MANTIS) Lab with the Conrad Blucher Institute for Surveying and Science at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi
- Dr. Philippe Tissot - Chair for Coastal Artificial Intelligence with the Conrad Blucher Institute for Surveying and Science at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi
- Ms. Seneca Holland - Geospatial Analyst at the Conrad Blucher Institute for Surveying and Science at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi (TAMU-CC)
Webinar Videos are available by request please email: firstname.lastname@example.org