Puttering around his family's abandoned plumbing shop, 73-year-old Arthur Borboa can't remember when this farming town has been so dry, or so desperate.

As California suffers through a sixth year of drought, half the land around Firebaugh remains fallow and its streets are quiet."You see a lot of bare land. This town is drying up, too" Borboa says. "Without farming, there's no Firebaugh."

In good years, the fields that surround this town in the San Joaquin Valley are ripe with fruit and cotton and bustle with workers, many in the area just for the season.

For every farm job lost, another four are cut in related industries, according to a recent study by the California Farm-Water Coalition.

For Borboa, plumbing work dried up along with the fortunes of his clients in this town of 4,800 people 150 miles southeast of San Francisco. Now he's having trouble finding a buyer for his corner lot.

Charlie Sailor, who owns Firebaugh Equipment Co., has not sold a tractor all year. Revenues are down $1 million and repossessions are up, he said. Sailor laid off five workers this spring, including one who'd been with the company for 20 years.

"Last year, we thought if we got by, we'd get rain and be rolling again," he said. "But it's even drier. It's worse. In the community it's going to be devastating."

The huge Westlands Water District that supplies Firebaugh is under federal orders to cut back water supplies by 75 percent. It estimates the cutback will cost 3,800 farming jobs.

Farmers expect revenues will be down about $153 million. Last year, they reported a $94 million decline in revenues that normally run about $700 million.

"Growers have used up all of their slack," Westlands spokesman Don Upton says. "Now it's just a matter of trying to survive. Some of them probably won't."