From the Wall Street Journal:
Sharp cutbacks in water for farmers threaten to trigger renewed layoffs in a large swath of California, eating into the state's $40 billion-a-year agriculture industry and damping its nascent economic recovery.
Amid an unusually dry winter, managers of the federal Central Valley Project, which delivers mountain water for agriculture, late last month announced an initial reduction in farmers' water allowance for this year to 30% of the allotment in the driest southern reaches of the valley, down from 85% last year. Now farmers and local agriculture officials are taking in the economic impact they face.
Officials of the 614,000-acre Westlands Water District, near Fresno, say farmers there are expected to leave tens of thousands of acres fallow, only a year after California experienced one of its wettest winters on record.
"Being a farmer in California is worse than going to Las Vegas," said Mark Borba, as he inspected a barren field he may leave without crops this year because of the water reductions. Mr. Borba, co-owner of Borba Farms, which gets water from the district, expects to reduce his cotton crop by 38% to 1,480 acres from 2,400 last year.
For more, see: California Farmers Feel Pain