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In drought, water war in California fought underground

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FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — Throughout central California, a water war is quietly being fought underground.

Farmers, residents and urban water districts have seen their wells go dry because the water table has fallen so low. Those who can afford it have been drilling deeper wells that can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Experts say groundwater supplies have been strained by growing city populations and hundreds of square miles of new orchards and vineyards.

Exacerbating the problem is a second consecutive dry year, as well as cutbacks of surface water shipped to farms and cities from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Climate change is putting additional pressure on aquifers.

Experts worry groundwater is becoming unaffordable — and that overuse could cause serious land subsidence, damaging infrastructure such as roads.

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