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6 Stories to Read Right Now: Farmers Battle California Drought, New Water Rules

6 Stories to Read Right Now: Farmers Battle California Drought, New Water Rules

New water laws, the drought's cost to agriculture, water-saving efforts and water police in California

In California, a record-setting drought is keeping farmers up at night, "water cops" are patrolling water waste and new laws are being passed to curb water overuse.

It's a web of cause-and-effect issues that the state government is being forced to wrangle with as more than 80% of the state is in extreme drought and dry conditions are not forecast to improve.

A key issue in the debate: California's groundwater. Some lawmakers believe putting caps on how much water city dwellers can use while landowners – and farmers – have access to groundwater is a double standard, and the legal system is paying attention.

A hose sits on a dead lawn in front of a house on July 15, 2014, in San Francisco, Calif. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Meanwhile, the economic impact on agriculture is hefty, says a UC Davis report, and the USDA is trying to help farmers along.

For more on these and other California drought news, click the links below:

1. California Report Warns of Worsening Economic Impacts of Drought. National Geographic

2. One water cop patrols all of Los Angeles. San Jose Mercury News

3. California passes new water rules to help state during its extreme drought. Sacramento Bee

4. Drought shrivels Fresno County, Calif. Ag values. Western Farm Press

5. California’s farmers are losing jobs to the drought. Voxxi

6. Coalition forms to manage California's groundwater. LA Times (commentary)

Bonus: Farmers Worry drought may increase wild pig problems. ABC 30

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