By Associated Press
SACRAMENTO — A decades-old law barring the public from viewing records of water wells throughout California is drawing criticism from those who believe the information locked away could help scientists and water policy specialists better protect the state's groundwater supply.
The criticism comes as the state's drought prompts farms and cities, mostly in the Central Valley, to drill hundreds of new wells and pump huge amounts of groundwater.
While other Western states make well logs widely available, the Sacramento Bee reports that the law makes a narrow group of state officials and researchers privy to facts and figures on each well's depth, diameter and the geological material bored through to hit water.
Records of flows and capacities for the state's rivers and reservoirs are abundantly available, but not for wells in California that provide one-third or more of the state's water supply and even more in dry years like this one.