BUTTE COUNTY (CBS13) — Drilling deep into the Butte County ground, farmer Ryan Schohr is searching for the precious commodity that will keep his crops alive.

Nearly 500 feet down, he’s struck liquid gold—water.

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“This is the first well we’ve put in in a generation,” he said.

Schohr will need every drop his well can spare. As it is, half of his rice fields and other crops will be fallowed, meaning the crops won’t be planted.

His surface water was severely cut this year to just 40 percent of what he’s used to. Schohr considers himself lucky, knowing some farmers are getting no surface water at all.

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“Many farmers below Sacramento are at zero percent. Ag has been hurt tremendously by this,” he said.

Like many growers relying on more on groundwater, he’s emphasizing efficiency to maximize what little water he does have. His tractor uses precision GPS technology. A white box is one of two receivers controlling the blade smoothing the field down to one-tenth of an inch, making sure not a single drop of water is wasted.

See the rest of this story here and tune in to the CBS13 News at 10 on Thursday for the fourth part of this five-part series.

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