By Elizabeth Zach, RCAC staff writer

More than 100 million Americans rely on groundwater, but a recent study finds that wells are going dry and well owners are drilling ever deeper.

Researchers at the University of California at Santa Barbara, whose findings are in the journal Nature Sustainability, studied 12 million groundwater wells across the United States. They focused largely on California’s Central Valley, and noted that groundwater depletion is causing some wells to run dry.

“We were surprised how widespread deeper well drilling is,” Scott Jasechko, one of the study authors told

There are various reasons for this, the researchers concluded. Some people drill deeper to prevent contamination seeping into aquifers from the surface, or to reach aquifers that have less stringent withdrawal regulations. Others may drill deeper to source more water.

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