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California might try to send water uphill through the state's aqueduct to bail out farmers

California might try to send water uphill through the state's aqueduct to bail out farmers

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Water naturally likes to go down, but engineers in California are trying to reverse that reality in the midst of a drought that's crippling the state's resources. A new plan involves a series of diesel-powered pumps that would send water back up a section of the state's aqueduct, watering fields and keeping the economy humming in the process. The aqueduct would typically send water down the 420-mile system, and it's not exactly built to go the other way, reports the Associated Press.

California is in a state of emergency

The plan, which could cost between $1.5 to $9.5 million, would pump the water up the channel, then over locks to keep it from flowing back down. The water's only traveled back that way once, the AP says, during heavy rains in 1983 when emergency pumps effectively kept the system from flooding.

California is currently in the midst of its driest year in recorded history, due mainly to low rainfall, as well as light snowpack in the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Last week, Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency urging state residents to conserve water and suggesting plans to invest in dams and reservoirs. That's on top of an existing partnership with NASA to monitor the state's snowpack and groundwater resources using satellites and airplanes.

The water that's a part of this plan would not be for everyone. According to the AP, it stemmed from five water groups, including Bakersfield, which is a key agricultural haven. That group wants to move a mass of water up through a 33-mile section of the aqueduct near the middle of the state this summer, though needs state approval first.