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California farmers brace for little or no water

– Federal officials plan to announce Friday how much water they can release this year through a vast system of rivers, canals and reservoirs, but Central Valley farmers on the front lines of California’s historic drought expect little, if anything.

This time of year the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation carefully measures the mountain snow pack, rainfall and reservoir levels all over California to determine the water available for farmers, fish migrations and communities.

Gov. Jerry Brown last month declared California’s drought emergency, and both state and federal officials have pledged millions of dollars to help with water conservation and food banks.

Last year, some farmers received 20 percent of what is considered normal but Gayle Holeman, a spokeswoman for Fresno’s Westlands Water District, said that figure is expected to hit zero.

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