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California Farms Sink Wells as Record Drought Escalates

Rod Cardella, a Mendota, California, grower of wine grapes, onions and almonds, had to wait a year to have a fourth water well dug on his property as the record drought gripping the most populous U.S. state increased demand for groundwater.

Cardella, 66, who founded Cardella Ranch with his father in 1970 and produces grapes for E&J Gallo Winery, the largest exporter of California wines, paid $500,000 to add the well in June after the federal government said it wouldn’t supply his area with its usual water allocation. The drought forced Cardella to leave half his ranch, including onion and cotton fields, unplanted this year.