California’s Central Valley: Ground Zero in Water War

From Courthouse News Service – Stretching hundreds of miles from the mountains bordering Los Angeles north toward the state capital, the San Joaquin Valley doesn’t resemble landscapes typically associated with California. Devoid of the skyscrapers, beaches and bridges that make California famous, the sprawling valley is instead filled with thousands of farms and oil fields that quietly help drive the state’s $2.7 trillion economy. Known as the “food basket of the world,” for over a century the valley and its rich soil have spoiled Americans with a wide variety of nuts, produce, wine grapes, dairy and even cotton. Now stripped of its once vast wetlands and nearly sucked dry from the over pumping of groundwater during the West’s increasingly common droughts, the fertile valley is in need of a reboot: Its aquifers have shrunk and the remaining water is often contaminated with nitrate and salts. (more)