By Elizabeth Zach, staff writer

water seeping into the groundCalifornia’s groundwater, researchers say, is more plentiful than they thought. The water had eluded them because they weren’t searching deep enough, according to an assessment published this month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Oil exploration is common at two miles underground, and it is here the researchers found additional water. The water is too deep to extract and saltier than river water, but still, researchers say it could be a good source for future use.

“We may need to rely on deep groundwater volumes in the future and so it’s important to characterize the resource and protect it,” Mary Kang, a Stanford University researcher and an author of the study, told Circle of Blue.

The study updates a U.S. Geological Survey analysis from 1989 that observed fresh water in the Central Valley only to a depth of about 1,000 feet. The Stanford researchers, however, accessed oil industry logs that reveal the groundwater at 9,840 feet.

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