California’s Central Valley is one of the most productive agricultural regions in the United States—it yields a third of the produce grown in the country and is the world’s largest supplier of canned tomatoes. But a seven-year drought has threatened the viability of the valley’s farmland, and many rural communities have suffered greatly as a result.

Joris Debeij’s short documentary When a Town Runs Dry offers a window into the front lines of the water crisis. In the film, which is based on Diana Marcum’s Pulitzer Prize–winning reporting, we hear from several residents of Stratford, a farming community in which much of the land was decimated by the drought.

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