On a cold November afternoon, John Fitch stands in his backyard in the town of Albert, Calif.
He’s not alone.
A steady stream of people come by every day to look at his home, the only one in the area where the drought is expected to persist for years.
Fitch is a farmer, and he’s in the middle of one of the worst droughts in the state.
Farmers and ranchers are struggling to survive.
The drought is so severe that the California Department of Water Resources has been forced to make drastic cuts to water supplies, which are already scarce, and to limit water use, which is expected soon.
Fitches property is surrounded by water storage tanks.
But the tank is filled up.
FITCH’S TANKS: This is what the reservoir is.
It’s been filled up to this point, so this is the amount of water that’s coming in and out.
It has been very dry.
It just kind of keeps growing, and we’re in a drought.
That’s what we’re talking about.
I’m not saying that this drought has been all bad.
I don’t know what’s going to happen.
But it’s a pretty hard thing to see when you’re just a farmer in a rural area.
FIFTH ANNUAL DRAIN UPDATE: The drought in California is now expected to last for more than a year.
The state is experiencing record-low temperatures.
And some states have already seen record-high temperatures in the winter.
The U.S. Drought Monitor predicts that by December, drought conditions will persist through at least January 2018.
But in the meantime, the state has announced an aid package worth nearly $500 million for farmers and rancher’s.
Here’s what you need to know.
WHAT IS THE DRAINE IN CALIFORNIA?
California’s drought is currently one of its worst on record.
It began in 2016, and by 2017, the drought was so severe it had already been called a “drought of unprecedented proportions.”
As the drought continues, the number of counties experiencing drought-related water shortages has increased.
More than half of the state’s counties are currently experiencing water shortages.
More: CALIFORNS STATE DRAINS IN 2018: The state has already reported over 5,700 cases of drought-caused water shortages, the highest number in at least 40 years.
The Drought Management District of the U.P. has declared a drought emergency for parts of the central California area.
The number of drought declarations has also increased from 1,715 to 2,934.
The Department of Agriculture (USDA) says that over the past month, nearly 9.8 million acres have been planted in the Central Valley, and the state will grow the entire state’s water allotments.
The water shortage in California has also led to the shutdown of some water delivery systems in the region.
The California State Water Resources Control Board has also ordered water rationing in some areas.
What does this mean for California farmers and cattle ranchers?
Fitch says that drought-affected California is already affecting his livelihood.
FITZMAN’S FARM: I can’t make it through the day without seeing the water tank.
It is very, very, extremely dry.
So that is a concern, and I do have to look out for the cows.
I have to make sure that they are fed and that they have water.
I just hope that they don’t die.
FISHING HOUSES: We’re very fortunate in California to have such a beautiful lake, but it’s just not there anymore.
We’re going to have to start thinking about how we get our fish out of there.
FIVE-YEAR-OLD JENNY’S SISTER SAYS THE DRILL HAS BEEN WORSE FOR HIS FAMILY “We had two fish in the house last week,” Jenny said.
“And they got stuck in the tank.”
Jenny says she’s lucky to have a family of seven, but she fears the water shortage could affect her grandchildren and grandkids.
She says her grandchildren have to be fed at least once a day to keep them alive.
“It’s a real challenge for our grandchildren,” Jenny told NBC News.
“The water is just so dry.
We are all struggling with it.”
FIFTEEN-YARD JOURNALISTS ARE WATCHING FOR BREAKS AND DRAWS “It has been a really tough situation,” said Chris Miller, who works as a water analyst for the California Drought Mitigation Group, which advises the state on drought-induced water issues.
“We’re going through a very difficult situation.
There’s a lot of work to be done to try to get this drought under control.”
The state expects to report the first-ever statewide drought map for 2019, which will be based on water demand, water availability and irrigation patterns