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California was once the site of a gold rush.

But now arguably one of the most precious commodities in parts of the state and in the Southwest is something else entirely — water — as the region grapples with a decades-long megadrought that experts say has been spurred on by a warming Earth.

Farmers struggle to water their crops. Less snowpack feeds rivers, streams and lakes in areas surrounding the mountains. And what little runoff there is from snow in the spring is immediately sopped up by the arid soil before it can reach important bodies of water.

A February report from the California State Water Resources Control Board, for instance, said the question is not whether warming will occur, but the “magnitude of warming” instead and says the state is facing the “threat of greaterscarcity of water supplies, increased water demand, and limited water supply reliability.” The report said the state said it has taken “bold” actions to reduce the effects of climate change as well as increase water resilience such as the expansion of recycled water.

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