The Kings River is a lifeline for Valley farmers including Fred Machado. But this year the grape grower isn't happy about the low flow between these banks. "Let's all pray for a good wet season next year so we can have some of the snow the Lord has given the east coast, give it to us and some of that rain," said Machado.
The Fresno Irrigation District is the second largest water district in the Central Valley and pumps water out of the Kings River. That supply passes through local canals to about four thousand farmers, but this year many farmer won't get as much delivered. "We are actually entering into what is shaping up to be the fifth driest rainfall on record," said Gary Serrato.
Garry Serrato with the water district says local farmers are already making do with only half of normal quantities and it could get worse. "There is a threat that that water supply could be cut even more," said Serrato.
The reason: much lower snowpack in the Sierra and the lack of rainfall. Usually the district pumps water to farmers about six months of the year but they are now trying to figure out how to get growers through the worst summer months. "In this particular case we are targeting the months where the water is most needed but there is going to have to be pumping from ground water for the farmer to complete his crops," said Serrato.
Farmers say using pumps is pricey but it is the price they pay to harvest healthy crop.