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What You Should Know / July 12, 2010 -- Control of California's largest underground water bank was illegally bestowed on a handful of private, wealthy agriculture and real estate companies in the 1990s, according to a group of environmentalists, sport fishermen and delta farmers. Now, as the Golden State grapples with an aging water network, declining fish species and climate change, a lawsuit argues that the Kern Water Bank should be returned to the state agency that bankrolled it. "In times of drought, (the water bank) is a dry-day fund that means we don't have to shut people's taps off during drought," said Adam Keats, senior attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity, one of five groups that filed the lawsuit July 2 in state superior court in Kern County. "But rather than protect key populations, it's increasing the profit potential for a small group of water barons in Kern County."

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