LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - California's main source of irrigation water is expected to go dry this year for most of its growers due to drought, idling at least 60,000 workers and up to 1 million acres of farmland, federal officials and experts said on Friday.
The zero allocation for most of the farmers who buy water from the federally managed Central Valley Project was declared as California water officials repeated their plans to cut amounts supplied from a separate state-run water system to 15 percent of normal.
The drought-forced cutbacks are a huge blow to thousands of farmers in the Central Valley, which produces over half of the fruit, vegetables and nuts grown in the United States. Higher prices are likely for a wide range of crops as a result.
It is unclear where the food supply can be replaced.
"It doesn't get any worse than zero," California Farm Bureau Federation President Doug Mosebar said in a statement. "Our water reliability has hit rock bottom."
It is going to be an interesting couple of decades.