Recent storms won't guarantee healthy water delivery for farms

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The recent storm still can't guarantee a healthy water delivery for Valley farmers this year. (KFSN)

The recent storm still can't guarantee a healthy water delivery for Valley farmers this year.

We're still very early in the season which runs through April. At this point, experts say all this snow and rain merely represents a good start.

The water in the Fowler switch canal may be murky but recent storms have allowed water to flow through here for the first time in five years. The floodwater will help recharge basins in the consolidated irrigation district. Snow-capped mountains make farmers smile. "There's nobody more excited about it than us. It's an encouraging start but we're not where we need to be yet," said Larry Cruff, Selma grape grower.

It's a good starting point but Pine Flat Reservoir is only at 20-percent of capacity right now. "The weekend was a good storm. It probably brought us about 3 1/2 inches of water content into the snowpack so that brought us a little bit above average for the date," said Steve Haugen, Kings River Water Association Watermaster.

Haugen said it's much too early to determine whether farmers will get a decent water delivery. "It's been well above average rainfall on the valley floor. The mountains have only received normal snowpack this year."

Haugen said if we get normal precipitation the rest of the season Pine Flat would end up at 70-percent of capacity by June. This is why water agencies and farmers alike want to see more storms.

Farmers have seen many wet and snowy starts to the season only to see warm, dry conditions follow for the next few months.

Related Topics:
weatheragriculturefarmingrainsnow stormsnowstormfresno countywater
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