Water Allocation

February 20, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
At this point farmers on the Valley's west-side won't be receiving any water. The drought has forced the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to drastically reduce normal water deliveries around the state.Hundreds of thousands of acres in the Central Valley now sit idle. Entire vineyards have been ripped out because there is no water to irrigate the crop.

The Westland's water district has taken an unprecedented hit.

Glaser said the state's reservoirs remain near or at record low levels. Recent storms weren't enough to off-set three dry years. Irrigation water normally delivered through the California aqueduct won't reach valley farms.

Dan Errotabere farms 5,000 acres in Western Fresno County. He'll idle half his land. They're all crops you can expect to pay more for during the spring and summer.

With a zero water allocation, many farmers turn to wells to pump groundwater but they still must make choices on which crops to save.

The drought has dried up the economy in small towns like Mendota and Firebaugh, where unemployment runs as high as 40-percent.

The initial federal allocation for those who rely on water from Friant Dam is just 25-percent of normal. Officials worry the water troubles seen on the Valley's west side will spread to the east

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