Washington Post

In California water crisis, desert is latest battleground

The sun sets on the Mojave National Preserve in Kelso, California, in early February. There is water under the desert, and whether to tap it on a commercial scale is a crucial debate in California. MUST CREDIT: Photo for The Washington Post by Jenna Schoenefeld

CADIZ VALLEY, Calif. - The landscape here is more Martian than Earthly, rust and tan plains that rise in the distance to form the Old Woman Mountains to the east and the Bristols and Marbles to the north and west.

Almost everything here is protected by the federal government. The opportunity or threat, depending on your point of view, lies beneath the dusty surface that, after a recent rain, blooms with sprays of yellow desert dandelion...

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