Drought may cut off federal water to Calif. farms

February 20, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
Federal water managers say they may have to cut off all water to some of California's largest farms as a result of the deepening drought plaguing the state. U.S. Bureau of Reclamation officials said Friday parched reservoirs and patchy snow and rainfall this year would likely force them to slash surface water deliveries down to zero. This would be the first time in more than 15 years such a move was taken.

The move would be a brutal blow to farmers, who say the price of some of the crops they grow will likely rise if they have to rely only on well water. The state also anticipates a billion dollars in revenue losses and cost 40,000 jobs.

Federal officials say conditions could improve on March 1, when they announce new projections factoring in last week's storms.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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