The Tuscan Aquifer


Ever hear of the Tuscan Aquifer? That’s the underground reservoir that supplies much of the water for Butte, Glenn, and Tehama counties. The massive “lower” level of this aquifer remains largely untapped because of its depth. A local blogger has a beginner’s course here and here:

“The saturated area of underground substrate (a substrate can be rock, gravel, sand, silt, clay etc.) from which water can be extracted is called an aquifer. The aquifer beneath Chico (and beyond) is called the Tuscan Aquifer. It is named for the ‘Tuscan Formation,’ which are layers of deposits (rock, soil, sand) from ancient streams and volcanic mudflows. (I don’t know who named it the ‘Tuscan,’ though perhaps there is a similar geological formation in the Tuscany area of Italy).

The Tuscan Aquifer is big, though it is hard to be precise regarding its size and shape. Imagine a massive blob of saturated substrate beneath Butte, Tehama, and Glenn Counties, extending to depths of over 1000 feet, containing an estimated 10 times the amount of water as the capacity of Lake Oroville …People move to Chico to go to college, escape the Bay Area, or perhaps to take a job. Other folks might make a list of all the things they are looking for in a town, such as bikeability, sunny weather, a vibrant downtown, attractive city parks, and easy access to mountains and wild areas, and realize that Chico might be the place they want to be. But there are a few folks that move here because of the Tuscan Aquifer …”


8 thoughts on “The Tuscan Aquifer

  1. Sounds like you know something about the California water wars. SoCal would LOOOVVVE to get their hands on this water, and their politicians are undoubtedly scheming to do so at this very moment. Can it be done? Sure, this water could be pumped and canaled all the way to LA. To the best of my knowledge, groundwater is still considered private property in California, but that could change with an act of the legislature. Another reason for the northern counties to secede in my opinion …


  2. Born in Redding? I thought you were born in Susansville. Redding puts you in the north valley, and that practically makes us kin. Undoubtedly that is why you’re such a likable fellow. Good to see you in the comment box again, Bill. I hope all is well.


  3. I know something about the water wars, and it’s part of the reason why I dislike SoCal… and why I think the state should be split into at least two parts…

    As for groundwater being considered private property… although it probably should be considered “public” property I don’t think we have an adequate understanding of what “public” means, because we don’t have a proper understanding of political community, so, it’s probably better this way for now?


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