Now farmers are relying on dwindling groundwater supplies and keeping their fingers crossed for 10 percent of their water allotments. Last week a coalition of farmers and urban water users filed a lawsuit claiming that state officials overstepped their authority by approving another round of potential cuts.
The valley produces 80 percent of the world's almonds. But grower Shawn Coburn has held off spending $350,000 to fertilize his 1,000 acres this month because he fears he will not have enough water for a 2009 crop.
"If you like foreign oil, you're going to love foreign food," he scoffed.
This month, the government could further restrict water deliveries during the drought — and that would mean crop loans would be harder to get.