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California Drought-Fighters Turn to Australians for Help

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Australian farms and cities manage almost every drop of available water to make the most of supplies on the driest inhabited continent. No wonder California is looking Down Under for help with its record drought.

Four years of historic water loss have left the most-populous U.S. state with depleted reservoirs, fallow farmland and billions of dollars in emergency spending to keep faucets open. Unlike Australia, where water is tightly regulated and tracked by meters, usage in parts of California is unmonitored, urban supply remains cheap, and aquifers can be tapped by almost any landowner with a permit to drill a well.