Who’s to Blame for California’s Drought? – The New Yorker

The reason that these perceptions and statistics are so mixed relates to the complexity of California’s water situation. The state has access to both surface water, from rivers, lakes, reservoirs, and other aboveground places, and to groundwater, which people—particularly farmers—pump from underground. Of all the water that is typically used, about half goes toward environmental purposes, according to the Public Policy Institute of California—for instance, because it is found in protected “wild and scenic” rivers, or because it is used to preserve wetlands and the habitat within streams, or because it’s circulated in order to maintain the quality of water sent to agricultural and urban users.

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