From the Water Education Foundation – California has been called the most hydrologically altered landmass on the planet, and it is true. Today the state bears little resemblance to its former self. Where deserts and grasslands once prevailed, now reservoirs store water to move it to the arid land. Swampy marshes have given way to landfill for urban development. Wetlands have been converted to farmland. California’s water resources now support 35 million people and irrigate more than 5.68 million acres of farmland.  As a result of the development of the state’s natural resources, especially water, California has emerged as a leading agricultural producer, a major manufacturing center, the most populated state in the country and the eighth largest economy in the world. (more)