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July 23, 2014

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California drought threatens to dry up farm wells

Updated Tuesday, July 15, 2014 | 8:02 a.m.

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — Researchers say farmers in pockets of California hardest hit by the drought could begin to see wells run dry next year.

The Center for Watershed Sciences at the University of California, Davis, released the study Tuesday on the possible impact if the next two years remain dry in California.

The study also says farmers will leave nearly 430,000 acres unplanted this year, costing California $2.2 billion.

Richard Howitt, one author of the study, says farmers are using more groundwater for irrigation now that less water is available from the mountain snowpack that fills state reservoirs and canals.

The California Department of Food and Agriculture requested the research.

Karen Ross, the department's secretary, said she recognizes the critical state of California's ground water and the need for local officials to manage it.