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Episode 640: The Bottom Of The Well

Pistachio trees in California's drought-stricken Central Valley.

Note: This episode originally ran in 2015.

California is looking at a drought again. The last drought in California made life inconvenient in a lot of ways, from water rationing to taps actually running dry.

The thing is, then and now, there's actually still water in the ground. There are water aquifers literally underneath many of those homes with empty faucets. But the water level has gotten so low that they can't reach it anymore.

But there are people still getting this water--and you can see it across acres of lush, California farmland. Farmers. Today on the show, we find out why the most lucrative thing you can do in California right now is to use more and more of the scarce resource, water.

Music: "Cowboy Country" by and "Blues Swagger."

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Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Stacey Vanek Smith is the co-host of NPR's The Indicator from Planet Money. She's also a correspondent for Planet Money, where she covers business and economics. In this role, Smith has followed economic stories down the muddy back roads of Oklahoma to buy 100 barrels of oil; she's traveled to Pune, India, to track down the man who pitched the country's dramatic currency devaluation to the prime minister; and she's spoken with a North Korean woman who made a small fortune smuggling artificial sweetener in from China.
Robert Smith is a host for NPR's Planet Money where he tells stories about how the global economy is affecting our lives.