With record-low rainfall and virtually no water to irrigate, California is slowly, but surely, drying up. No water means that farmers’ crops and livestock could be in serious danger. Many farmers are left with two options: either go completely out of business, or spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to invest in gargantuan drills that dig deep into the Earth to tap stores of groundwater.

With little to no regulation on ground drilling and a rising need for water, farmers are entering into an arms race to pump as much of the valuable liquid out of the Earth as they possibly can. The most dangerous part? We’re not sure just how much groundwater is left and there’s no backup plan once it’s gone.

Video Credits:
Producer/Camera: Valerie Bischoff
Video Editor: Laurie Thomas

Tim Pool is director of media innovation at Fusion, and a mobile and technology specialist covering conflict, crisis, and internet culture on the ground and online.

Valerie Bischoff is a writer/director/preditor at Fusion. She has directed for MTV, Nike and continues to be driven by an insatiable curiosity.