Valley farmers embrace wet weather

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The snow pack in the Sierra is above average - which is a good sign of potential relief from the drought. Still, it's not clear how much water, if any will make down to the farms. (KFSN)

The wet weather is giving valley farmers something to fight for again. The snow pack in the Sierra is above average - which is a good sign of potential relief from the drought. Still, it's not clear how much water, if any will make down to the farms.

"It's beautiful," said Paul Betancourt as he looked at the snow-capped mountains above Fresno County, "we know there's water there to farm with."

For the past two years, Betancourt hasn't seen any water make it down from the mountains to his crops in Kerman. His water allocations have been set to zero and he's been waiting for a good snow pack to give him a break from the drought.

"I don't know if we'll have much more water but we'll have something to fight over this time," Betancourt said.

Ryan Jacobsen with the Fresno County Farm Bureau says the view is definitely a good sign but it could be deceiving.

Jacobsen said, "historically, storms equated to water allocation, that's no longer the case."

He says there are problems in the Delta - with the pumps and endangered fish. The state has also been so dry, reservoirs are filling up slowly.

"This is an issue that can be fixed by congress and the president but obviously, beyond that, it's hoping the storms continue to come in," Jacobsen added.

In other words, a stormy season doesn't necessarily mean Betancourt will get his cut of water from the Sierras this year.

"If there's gonna be no water, we're gonna deal with it one way," Betancourt said, "we just need to know in the future."

There is a chance water allocation numbers could go up after surveyors head up to the mountains to take measurements of the snow pack.
Related Topics:
weatherweatheragriculturefarmingFresno County
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