Newly released water totals are bleak

Newly released water level totals show just how much the drought is drying up the Valley.
January 29, 2014 12:00:00 AM PST
Newly released water level totals show just how much the drought is drying up the Valley.

Water experts from irrigation districts throughout the area don't believe the forecasted storm will have much of an impact on the ongoing drought.

Kings River Association's Steven Haugen told us the ongoing drought will be felt by growers throughout the Valley. "Right now the watershed is the driest it has been since we started keeping records in the 1930s," said Haugen.

The water from the upper Kings River Watershed flows through the Kings River and serves about a million acres of farmland. This year much of that land won't get enough water.

"There are a number of water of units that won't have any water entitlements this year and those who do have water will have drastically reduced seasons," added Haugen.

About 90% of Fresno Irrigation District's water is also pumped from the Kings River but this year the district is preparing for big reductions.

"This is comparable to something that is worse which is what a lot of folks are familiar with the 1976, 1977 drought which is the driest year on record and this is even worse than that, " said Gary Serrato.

Serrato who is with Fresno's district told us light rain won't make much of a difference. What we need he believes is an ongoing downpour and a lot of snow.

"Even with these storms that are coming we need more and more to get us to 50 percent of average," said Serrato.

In the North Valley, staff members from Merced Irrigation District aren't optimistic either. Plans are now underway to cut supplies to their growers.

"Typically water is measured in acre feet, which is one acre of land with a foot of water on top of it. This year there is so little water available that we are literally looking at providing inches of water to growers," said Mike Jensen.


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