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The city’s fate is linked inextricably with the San Joaquin River, which runs through town after its long trip down the western slope of the Sierra and a sharp turn north through the San Joaquin Valley. Much of the water upstream is diverted for agriculture, although a legal settlement ensures that the river no longer runs dry. Additional diversions at the downriver end — this time for urban as well as agricultural use — greatly reduce the amount of water that actually makes it through the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, the San Francisco Bay and then the Pacific. It is as if one of the state’s two great arteries (the other being the Sacramento River) is detached from its heart.