Drought drives up business for water witcher

As the drought continues, some farmers are turning to an old way to find water.
March 3, 2014 9:12:28 PM PST
As the drought continues, some farmers are turning to an old way to find water. It's a method scientists have long dismissed, but one water witcher says his phone has been ringing off the hook.

Jim Barbour runs a vineyard in Napa. He recently had Marc Mondavi help locate a spot to drill a well.

"This guy's walking down the road and he's trying to find water and he's talking to his rods, OK well, there's a little something strange about that," Barbour said.

Barbour was a skeptic, but these days he trusts his friend's water witching talents. And he's not alone. Mondavi is best known as a wine maker and even has a label based on his divining-rod side job. With area reservoirs are at such record lows, property owners are trying to tap other sources.

"I already got a letter for one of my properties that said 'you're getting half the water that you normally get,' and there's other water districts that are saying you're getting no water," Mondavi said.

Mondavi and his copper rods have been really busy because of the drought he says he's found plenty of water in properties throughout the area. Finding the water, he says, is easy. But drilling for it is another problem.

"There are so many people who are wanting to drill wells now, we've got a backup of maybe three months before we can get a well driller to drill the well," Barbour said.

If the drought continues, Mondavi figures he's going to stay busy.

"Water's going to be the next oil in California," he said.