Interior Secretary to hold Calif drought meeting |

Interior Secretary to hold Calif drought meeting

MENDOTA, Calif. (AP) – U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has announced he will hold hearings on the drought in California and its impact on farmers.

California lawmakers and Bureau of Reclamation representatives will join Salazar at hearings in Fresno County on Sunday.

The announcement Wednesday came as state officials listened to stories of human suffering related to water shortages at a meeting in Mendota, considered California’s “epicenter of drought.”

Residents told state officials firsthand that crime and unemployment have increased as farmers idle workers and fallow fields.

San Joaquin Valley farmers historically have received most of their water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, but pumping has been limited to protect endangered species and the estuary.