Since 2012, California has been suffering through a historically severe drought that has affected over 90% of the Golden State. Residents continue to reel from the consequences as another rainy season has left the snowpack well below average, the reservoirs dangerously low, and the cities, towns and agricultural communities jockeying for whatever water is left. As wells go dry, orchards are uprooted or left to die, livestock is destroyed, and workers remain unemployed and feeling useless.

On assignment for The New Yorker, photographers Matt Black and Ed Kashi recently spent time with farmers and shepherds of the Central Valley, documenting their ongoing struggles and the evident domino effect of severe water shortages. As Dana Goodyear writes in the magazine article, for the farmers of the Central Valley, “the country’s fruit basket, salad bowl, and dairy case,” the future seems especially bleak.

Published on The New Yorker Photo Booth, September 22, 2014.