National

Mar 16, 2010 6:06 PM by Bea Karnes, News First 5

Storms mean farmers, cities will get more water

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says a series of drenching storms has freed up more water for parched farms and cities throughout California.

Salazar announced Tuesday that growers in the farm belt south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta will receive at least 25 percent of the water they have contracted for - an improvement on the 5 percent announced last month.

Some of the nation's most productive farmland has been idled because of three years of drought, as well as federal water restrictions to protect the native delta smelt fish species.

The shortages have led to high unemployment and economic distress in the San Joaquin Valley.

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