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February 13, 2014 | By Seema Mehta and Anthony York
TULARE, Calif. - Signs reading "No Water = No Jobs" line the alfalfa fields and almond orchards along the highway that bisects this region. The weekly "Ag Alert" newsletter records worries about tomato and grape crops, and drought turning dairy pastures brown. Water, or the lack of it, is on everyone's minds here in the Central Valley, stretching from Bakersfield past Sacramento and home of the state's $45-billion-a-year agriculture industry. Republican candidates for governor are seizing on the subject as they seek to score political points against the popular Democratic incumbent, Gov. Jerry Brown.
February 13, 2014 | By Anthony York
Lady Gaga has a new message for all of her “little monsters”: Save water. The five-time Grammy Award winner will soon be on the air with a public service announcement urging Californians to do their part to help with the state's drought. So how did Lady Gaga become the new face of drought awareness? It started when the “Poker Face” singer wanted to use Hearst Castle for what the Hearst Castle Foundation is calling "a special creative project. " The San Simeon estate, which is now a state park, is doing its part to help with the water crunch.
February 12, 2014 | By Seema Mehta and Anthony York
TULARE - Visiting an international agriculture fair Wednesday that drew tens of thousands of visitors to the heart of the Central Valley, Republican gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari said the state's lack of preparedness for the drought that is devastating the region's farmers and ranchers was an example of Gov. Jerry Brown's failed leadership. “We know that droughts happen and … we're totally unprepared,” Kashkari said during a talk-radio show being broadcast from the World Ag Expo, surrounded by massive tractors and automatic grape harvesters.
February 12, 2014 | By Ruben Vives
The California Department of Transportation is using more than 700 electronic highway signs to raise awareness about the state's severe drought. The statewide educational campaign is in response to last month's declaration of a drought emergency by Gov. Jerry Brown. In his proclamation, Brown said the state's rivers and reservoirs are at alarming levels and ordered Californians to cut back at least 20% of their water use. Brown also ordered state agencies to prepare for water shortages and launch water conservation campaigns.
February 11, 2014 | By David Pierson
TULARE, Calif. - California's drought could prove devastating to the state's farmers and ranchers. But the dry spell has brought a gusher of new business to companies that provide them with water. That much was clear at this year's World Ag Expo, which kicked off Tuesday in Tulare, a town of 60,000 about 45 miles south of Fresno. At one booth was a well repair company that had to add extra shifts to meet all the agricultural demand for groundwater. Nearby, a firm that provides turbine pumps for wells said orders were coming in so furiously it was running out of parts.
February 9, 2014 | By Tony Barboza
DAVENPORT, Calif. - By now, water would typically be ripping down Scott Creek, and months ago it should have burst through a berm of sand to provide fish passage between freshwater and the ocean. Instead, young coho salmon from this redwood and oak-shaded watershed near Santa Cruz last week were swirling around idly in a lagoon. There has been so little rain that sand has blocked the endangered fish from leaving for the ocean or swimming upstream to spawn. Scott Creek is one of dozens of streams across California where parched conditions have put fish in immediate danger.
February 8, 2014 | By Kathleen Hennessey
WASHINGTON--President Obama will travel to Fresno next week to highlight federal efforts aimed at helping farmers and others hit by a severe drought. A White House official said Obama will visit the Central Valley city Feb. 14. The White House already had announced Obama's plans to meet with Jordan's King Abdullah II at the Sunnylands estate near Palm Springs that day.   Obama's visit comes as interest on Capitol Hill in taking action to alleviate California's water crisis grows.
February 7, 2014 | By Jim Peltz
Tony Schumacher not only is the most successful top-fuel drag racer in NHRA history, he's also a huge hockey fan. So he was thrilled to drop the ceremonial opening puck at the Kings' game Thursday night at Staples Center, where they snapped a four-game losing streak. Now Schumacher hopes to end a drought of his own. After winning a remarkable six consecutive top-fuel championships from 2004 through 2009, giving him a record seven overall, Schumacher hasn't won a title since then.
February 6, 2014 | By David Horsey
The severe drought in California and much of the West is a reminder that civilized life is a paper-thin veneer that overlays the deep upheavals of nature. Humans carry on blithely, holding fast to the illusion that the natural world can be tamed and exploited with no unavoidable consequences. Then we get slammed by a hurricane, a flood, a tornado, a wildfire, a drought or a freezing polar vortex that lets us know how wrong we are.  Yet, after each disaster, we forget again -- which is the reason so few of us give any sustained attention to the climate change peril.
February 5, 2014 | By Richard Simon
WASHINGTON - The Republican-controlled House passed legislation Wednesday billed as a response to the California drought, but the measure is unlikely to go further in the face of a White House veto threat and opposition from the state's Democratic senators. Still, the action highlights the growing interest on Capitol Hill in trying to do something about the water shortage, a potentially hot issue in this year's elections. Democratic lawmakers are calling for hearings and hurriedly drafting legislation of their own. The House bill would, among other things, roll back environmental protections and halt restoration of a dried-up stretch of the San Joaquin River that is designed to revive salmon runs.
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