The Blog

California drought and “water witches”

The drought in California has some farmers calling for a witch doctor. Literally. They’re turning to an old-fashioned practice called “dowsing” or water witching. It involves a copper rod or piece of wood that looks like a wishbone to search for groundwater. Believers say it also involves a person’s spiritual energy. The government says there are thousands of water witches or dowsers in the U.S. It’s a practice dating back centuries, brought to America by European settlers. There’s no scientific evidence that dowsing works, but one thing is for sure: Drilling wells is expensive–as much as $10,000 each. So it pays to have a dowser help you avoid drilling in the wrong place. And that’s what’s put our next guest in high demand. Marc Mondavi has been dowsing for 35 years, and has found over a hundred wells during that time. He’s also a third-generation co-owner of the vineyard, Charles Krug Winery. Marc joins us from his Napa Valley vineyard with two copper rods I see…to explain and show us how it’s done.

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