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Schwarzenegger declares Calif. drought emergency

Associated Press

SACRAMENTO (AP) - Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has declared a state of emergency after three years of below-average rain and snowfall in California.

The move encourages urban water agencies to reduce water use by 20 percent and says mandatory conservation is an option if those and other measures are insufficient.

Schwarzenegger called the state's drought a crisis as severe as an earthquake or wildfire.

The drought has forced farmers to fallow their fields, put thousands of agricultural workers out of work and prompted conservation measures in cities throughout the state.

He signed the proclamation Friday. Among other steps, it directs state agencies to provide assistance for affected communities and businesses.

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