... During the drought, trillions of gallons of water were pumped without being replaced in the Central Valley, one recent study in Geophysical Research Letters shows. And farmers continue to invest in almond orchards, which cannot be fallowed during dry periods.
Vickie Ortiz, whose well is dry in Fairmead, south of Chowchilla in Madera County, says she respects her farm neighbor. But if her neighbor drills down 1,000 feet for water, it probably will eventually dry up any new, shallower well that she might get.
“We’re finding new almond plantings all around here now,” she says. “To the right of my five-acre parcel, there are 30 acres of almonds. Behind me, there’s another 20 acres. When his well goes dry, he’s going to dig deeper. Then I’ll have to dig deeper. And I’ll still have a loan on the well I’ve got. No, this is not going to end until somebody is monitoring it.”And who's going to monitor the monitors? The Almond Board of California?