Water levels in wells that supply Fresno CA drinking water have dropped so precipitously that wells are caving in and pumping sand. The cost of new wells is rising sharply because the wells need to be much deeper plus more electricity is needed to pump water out. Fresno now spends $11 million a year on electricity just to run their municipal water pumps and costs for obtaining new water have gone up 400%. This is happening throughout the rich agricultural farmland in the California Central Valley.
Climate change and droughts are putting additional pressure on aquifers, said USGS hydrologist Claudia C. Faunt. There also is a recent shift among California farmers to replace row crops such as tomatoes with orchards, which can’t be scaled back in dry times.
Astonishingly, supposedly environmentally conscious California has few laws governing groundwater. In most of the state, anyone can drill a well and pump as much water as they want.