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Feds: No Water For Drought-Hit California Farmers

<p>The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation said Friday there simply isn't enough water to give out to drought-plagued California farmers.</p>
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A federal agency said California farmers hit hard by a withering drought will receive no irrigation water this year from a sprawling system of rivers, canals and reservoirs across the parched state.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation said Friday there simply isn't enough water in the Central Valley Project, which provides irrigation and municipal water to wide swaths of California's midsection. A third of the country's fruits and vegetables are produced in the region.

Last year, Central Valley farmers received 20 percent of their normal water allowance — but that figure has sunk to zero percent amid an environmental crisis that has threatened to decimate the $44.7 billion agriculture business in the country's top farming state and put countless jobs on the line.

Gov. Jerry Brown last month declared a drought emergency. President Barack Obama this month pledged millions of dollars in federal assistance to California during a visit to Fresno.

State officials who oversee the State Water Project — California's other chief water system — have already announced they won't be allocating any water for farmers. The decision marks a first in the system's 54-year history.

Federal officials also said Friday that water used by communities will also be subject to severe cuts.

— Daniel Arkin

The Associated Press contributed to this report.