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Gov. Jerry Brown declared a drought emergency Friday for California after weeks of intensifying pressure from lawmakers to take action as the state's water reservoir levels remain strained with no rain in the forecast.
The declaration comes during one of the driest winters on record in California, following two dry years that already have left many reservoirs depleted. The state is facing "perhaps the worst drought that California has ever seen" since records began, Brown said during the Friday morning announcement.
Amid severe drought conditions, California officials announced Friday they won't send any water from the state's vast reservoir system to local agencies beginning this spring, an unprecedented move that affects drinking water supplies for 25 million people and irrigation for 1 million acres of farmland.
The announcement marks the first time in the 54-year history of the State Water Project that such an action has been taken, but it does not mean that every farm field will turn to dust and every city tap will run dry.
The 29 agencies that draw from the state's water-delivery system have other sources, although those also have been hard-hit by the drought.