Researchers from UCLA and the University of Houston have published a study in Geophysical Research Letters that reveals significant groundwater loss in California's Central Valley from 2002 to 2016, and particularly during the two droughts in that period. The losses occurred even as the total amount of irrigated land decreased, indicating a transition from row crops to more water-intensive tree crops. "Pumping groundwater during a drought is not an unreasonable strategy," study leader Dennis Lettenmaier, UCLA professor of geography, said. "But the problem is that to have a sustainable system you have got to replenish it at some point, and there essentially is no plan to do that."
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