Thursday, December 17, 2009

Stimulus funds drill wells as Calif water vanishes

The government is spending $40 million in federal stimulus funds to pull water from underground aquifers in drought-stricken California, even as evidence is growing that the well-drilling boom could degrade the quality of water delivered to millions of residents. Farmers, conservationists and engineers are criticizing the Interior Department's plan to spend taxpayer money on digging more wells, saying the approach risks marring the environment. Canals buckle, aquifers collapse and drinking water turns saltier due to so much pumping, and studies show that the state's water supplies are dwindling. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says the government is targeting its well-drilling effort to serve remote communities and prop up California's agricultural economy, a $36 billion industry that grows nearly half the country's fruits, nuts and vegetables. In the last six years alone, the amount of water that has been lost from the aquifers coursing beneath the parched Central Valley would be nearly enough to fill the nation's largest reservoir, Nevada's Lake Mead, NASA researchers said more

Spend and drill, just get past 2010 and 2012 before there is a reckoning.

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