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Thousands of California wells are at risk of drying up despite landmark water law

Still Waters

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Even though California enacted sweeping legislation nearly a decade ago to curb excessive agricultural pumping of groundwater, new research predicts that thousands of drinking water wells could run dry in the Central Valley by the time the law's restrictions take full effect in 2040.

The study, published this month in the journal Scientific Reports, casts critical light on how the state is implementing the 2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. The research reveals that plans prepared by local agencies would allow for heavy pumping to continue largely unabated, potentially drawing down aquifers to low levels that would leave many residents with dry wells.

The researchers warned that unless local agencies adopt more stringent measures or come up with backup plans, many people in the Central Valley could be left without access to drinking water, and low-income communities could be severely affected.



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