Friday , May 24 2024

Local Farmers to Receive Zero Water This Year from State Reservoirs

Many farmers and agricultural leaders in the Central Valley received disappointing news on Friday. For the second year in a row, growers will receive no water for their crops. The Bureau of Reclamation allocated zero percent water to Fresno County’s East (Friant) and West side federal water contractors. The Fresno County Farm Bureau along with local farmers and ag leaders are trying to figure out what to do next.
Paul Betancourt, a farmer with VF&B said, "Not as a surprise, but we had hoped for better."
Betancourt said anything is better than zero. No water allotment from the federal government, means no crops.
He said, "I have neighbors fallowing ground. I have neighbors pushing trees out. It’s just brutal."
Betancourt said receiving no water as part of this allocation means he’ll have to rely on groundwater. But, even that is sparse.
"This is definitely affecting what everybody’s planting. We’re okay, we got a plan for this year. But like I said, neighbors are pushing trees out," said Betancourt.

So, how is this going to affect you? Betancourt said produce prices are sure to increase because supply and demand will be so high. Local economies that rely on agriculture may suffer as well.
Carl Janzen, a chairman with the Friant Water Authority said, "My first thought is, it sucks. There’s no other way to put it."
Orange Cove city mayor Victor Lopez said on Friday that he is concerned.
Lopez said, "We’re a farm worker community, okay? We depend solely on agriculture, that’s our economy, that’s our jobs, those are families, our schools. Everyone’s going to be impacted enormously. And as mayor of my city, I’m very disappointed."
The Fresno County Farm Bureau said though Mother Nature has been dry, there is water available for distribution. However, the Bureau of Reclamation said Central Valley Project reservoirs are only at 26% capacity. The Bureau of Reclamation called the zero percent allocation an unfortunate and unprecedented situation.
To make matters perhaps worse, the Fresno County Farm Bureau said local contractors will still have to pay the bureau of reclamation, despite receiving no allocation of water. Farmers may have to go out there and buy their water now, which is only going to add to their bottom line.

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