Kings, Tulare and Fresno counties get drought disaster relief

March 19, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Farmers in Kings, Tulare and Fresno counties will now be able to get help for a shortage of water to irrigate their parched land.

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Doug Verboon has just begun pumping water from the ground to start his first irrigation of the season for his walnut orchards.

Eleven counties in California now have a designation that will mean more water for farmland. Kings, Tulare and Fresno are all on the list.

Kings Deputy County Counsel Johannah Hartley says drought conditions have plagued Valley farmland for the past year. This new designation will help farmers get federal loans.

Verboon says during last year's drought, farmers were still able to stretch some of the water from the Pine Flat Reservoir from the wet winter the year before. But because last year was also dry, this year they'll be depleting their water shed.

Verboon says the expenses to pump water from 300-feet deep, as opposed to just taking the surface water off the canal, can multiply a farmer's electricity costs.

Kings County has been designated a primary disaster location before. In fact, they had a disaster declaration just last year after a hail storm damaged thousands of acres of crops.


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