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State ag officials review groundwater issues

Groundwater, which provides up to half of all water used by California's farms and cities, will be the subject of a meeting this week by state agriculture officials.

The state Board of Food and Agriculture will meet Tuesday in Sacramento to consider such groundwater issues as overdraft, impaired water quality and salinity accumulation.

Karen Ross, secretary for the state agriculture department, said the issues "must be addressed to ensure sustainable groundwater management and the long-term vitality of agriculture."

In 2009, the U.S. Geological Survey reported that from 1962 to 2003, the Central Valley aquifer was depleted by almost 60 million acre-feet — enough water to meet the needs of every Californian for eight years. The aquifer is second in the U.S. for the amount of pumping that takes place, and it accounts for about 20 percent of the nation's groundwater demand.


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