San Joaquin Valley farmers are idling thousands of acres, bulldozing hundreds of trees and shifting production of some crops out of the area as the state enters its third straight year of dry weather.
The lack of rain and snow has depleted reservoirs and reduced streams and rivers to drastically low levels. The parched conditions have forced farmers to make critical decisions about how best to use what little water they have.
The crisis spurred Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday to issue a disaster declaration, allowing state agencies to re-examine policies for how water is managed and distributed among competing interests, including the environment and agriculture. It also raises the possibility of federal relief to offset any losses.