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Less Than Zero: Despite decades of accepted science, California and Arizona are still miscounting their water supplies

Water intake pipes that were once underwater sit above the water line along Lake Mead in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Monday, May 18, 2015, near Boulder City, Nev. Federal water managers are projecting Lake Mead will drop to levels in January 2017 that could force supply cuts to Arizona and Nevada. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Drawing groundwater from near a stream can suck that stream dry. In turn, using all the water in streams and rivers lessens their ability to replenish the aquifers beneath them. Yet California and Arizona -- the two states water experts say are facing the most severe water crises -- continue to count and regulate groundwater and surface water as if they were entirely separate.

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NAFTA an empty basket for farmers in southern Mexico

Moises de la Cruz shows ears of corn grown on his 7-acre plot of mountainous land 120 miles north of the Mexico-Guatemala border. De la Cruz’s family has been farming the land for generations, but in recent years costly requirements related to the North American Free Trade Agreement have made farming much more difficult. (Cronkite News Service Photo by Brittany Elena Morris)

Moises de la Cruz grows corn on a 7-acre plot of mountainous land 120 miles north of the Mexico-Guatemala border just as his father did and his father before him. He has never heard of the North American Free Trade Agreement but is profoundly aware that his life as a farmer has drastically changed over the past 20 years.

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Tobin’s water plan delayed, but not defeated (access required)

House Speaker Andy Tobin (Photo by Evan Wyloge/Arizona Capitol Times)

House Speaker Andy Tobin is sailing ahead in his attempt to pass a comprehensive long-term water plan for the state, even in the face of a flood of opposition from rural cities, counties, ranchers, farmers and conservationists.

Tobin’s marquee water legislation, HB2338, headed for a vote in the House Water and Agriculture Committee on Feb. 19. But when opponents showed up en masse, the committee decided not to hold a vote.

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