The battle over water in Santa Barbara's high desert

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In California, we talk a lot about water: where it comes from, how much we need, and when it’ll dry up. In the Cuyama Valley, which sits in the high desert between Santa Barbara and Bakersfield, “drying up” isn’t just an abstract fear. Cuyama is a farming town that’s pumping its water faster than the rain replaces it. Now, the community must come together and figure out a way forward before there’s nothing left.



Kathryn Barnes