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7 Ways California’s Drought Affects You

Last year, Kiplinger forecasted that California's historic drought would intensify and that the effects would be far-reaching. Governor Jerry Brown's imposition of mandatory water restrictions in March 2015 underscore the ongoing crisis.

The three-year-long drought in California isn’t about to end anytime soon, and the effects—both negative and positive—will spread well beyond the state’s borders, reaching most Americans. Among the negatives: higher prices for some fruits and vegetables grown in California, the nation’s largest agricultural state. But some positives to come from the drought include changes in recycling and conservation practices, as well as technological advances in purifying polluted groundwater and converting saltwater into freshwater in energy efficient ways.

The expected winter arrival of an El Niño, a Pacific Ocean-based weather phenomenon that usually brings rain to the Golden State, will help. But it doesn’t appear that it will be a strong enough rainmaker this time around to replenish severely depleted water supplies in many parts of the state. For example, two of California’s leading farming counties—Kern and Fresno—are extremely parched, having received just 25%-50% of their normal rainfall this year.

Here’s what to expect from California’s extended dry spell.

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