California is in the third year of its worst drought since the 1970s. The conditions have forced farms to abandon hundreds of thousands of acres of farmlands this year.
A new report shows that this will cost the state more than 2 billion dollars. Eric Boldt is with the National Weather Service. Boldt says 3 of the driest years on record have left farmers with few alternatives. California provides more than half of the nation’s fruits, nuts and vegetables. That means if California’s produce goes down, then food prices everywhere else go up. To help save water for crops, the state has decided to start fining people who waste water. People will have to pay up to 5-hundred dollars a day for using too much water when they wash their car or water their lawn. The new mandatory restrictions come as water usage actually rose during the past few months, despite pleas from lawmakers to cut back. The report from University of California Davis also predicts that the state will lose more than 17-thousand farm jobs. Researchers say even if California gets significant rainfall in the next few months, the drought will likely last until at least 2015.