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In certain areas of the world, more than 80 percent of the local water supply is withdrawn by businesses, farmers, residents and other consumers every year. These areas are particularly vulnerable to episodic drought.

Snow-capped mountain ranges no longer have snow. Citizens fear they'll lose access to water. And farmers continue to draw scarce groundwater.

So what can California do to shore up its dwindling water supply?

Many places around the world have no idea how much groundwater and surface water they have, let alone how much they can use sustainably. The United Nation's proposed Sustainable Development Goals, however, could transform the way governments understand and manage scarce water resources.

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