California farm wells can run dry next year: UC study

California farm wells can run dry next year: UC study

Farmers in some of the hardest drought hit areas of California could see their farm wells run dry as soon as next year, researchers at the University of California's Center for Watershed Sciences warned.

In a fresh study, released on Tuesday, the researchers painted a bleak picture of the possible impact of the persistent drought, saying farm wells could run dry in many areas if the state continues to suffer dry conditions for the next couple of years

As farmers are getting less water from the mountain snowpack that fills the state's streams, canals and reservoirs; they are drawing more groundwater, pushing the level of ground water further down.

Jay Lund, the director of the University's Center for Watershed Sciences who co-authored the study, said, "We don't know when the drought will end. We need to treat that groundwater well so it will be there for future droughts."

Richard Howitt, a professor of agricultural & resource economics at UC Davis, said failure to manage groundwater would prove to be a "slow-moving train wreck" in the coming dry years.

The study also estimated that the ongoing drought will force farmers to leave around 430,000 acres of agriculture land fallow this year, which would throw 17,100 seasonal & part-time agricultural workers out of jobs and cost the state's economy nearly $2.2 billion.

The Golden State has been in the grip of drought for the three years in a row, forcing authorities to cut supplies to almost all sectors of the economy, including farming.

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