Across the state, over 1,200 wells have gone dry this year, which is up 49% from the same period of time last year. In the last 30 days, 175 wells were reported as dry, which was a 33% decrease from the 30 days beforehand, per the Department of Water Resources’ Dry Well Reporting System.
In 2018, 2019, and 2020, less than 100 dry wells were reported each year, the Associated Press reported.
Mike Wade, executive director of the California Farm Water Coalition, told The Daily Wire that there are two major reasons groundwater levels have gone down in California.
”First, over the past 30 years, surface water supplies that irrigated much of the state’s food-producing farmland were largely redirected to other purposes,” he said over email. “And second, to cope with reduced surface water supplies, farmers turned to groundwater to stay in business and invested in high-efficiency irrigation systems. This combination of factors severely reduced groundwater recharge and we’re seeing the results today through reduced water for farming and local communities as well as less food production for consumers in the rest of the state.”
Sarah Woolf of Water Wise, an agricultural water consulting business, told The Daily Wire over email that she is “aware of the number of wells and how devastating this is for the residents and then entire county. ”
“California has a serious infrastructure problem that has been eroding for many years. These dry wells are directly impacting homes and people who should be able to count on a clean drinking water supply in their homes. But until there is more infrastructure for water in CA these limited supplies are going to continue to devastate people, industries and communities,” she said.
Adding another layer to the problem is the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), which made it so that local groups have to create groundwater sustainability agencies for certain basins. Local agencies will need to have their aquifers sustainably operated by 2042, per the Associated Press. This puts an additional level of stress and burden on farmers who are already trying to get by without much support from the government.
Dry weather is expected to continue for a fourth year. La Niña weather is expected to result in less rain and snow for the western state, Daniel Swain, a UCLA climate scientist told CalMatters. He said it’s not known just how the weather will go, but “I would still put my money on dry, even in the northern third of the state,” adding, “It’s not a guarantee. But if you were to see 50 winters like this one, most of them would be dry.”
The La Niña effect is thought to have a 91% chance of continuing through September to November, with an 80% likelihood that it will occur through November to January, and a 54% likelihood in January to March of next year, according to climate.gov and the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center.
California officials also recently said they anticipate the dry conditions to continue.
“We are actively planning for another dry year,” Jeanine Jones, drought manager for the California Department of Water Resources, said when talking about how California was doing at the end of its water year, which concluded on September 30.