Valley farmers receive new water allocations

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The drought has left many valley growers with no water allocations for the past two years, but that's changing for Friant water users, however some say it's still not enough. (KFSN)

The drought has left many valley growers with no water allocations for the past two years.

But that's changing for Friant water users, however, some say it's still not enough.

"The 30 percent allocation is welcome," said David Orth with the Friant Water Authority. "It's the first one we've seen in 3 years, but, frankly, it's not enough."

Orth says the US Bureau of Reclamation should be giving Friant water users more than 240,000 acre-feet of water since the forecast for the San Joaquin River shows an average runoff.

"You figure 2.5 feet per acre, you figure that will support 100,000 acres of farming," Orth explained.

But it's not enough when the full class one in the Friant division is 800 thousand acre-feet.

Orth says this is happening because of environmental protection actions in the delta, forcing the government to hold water back at Millerton Lake.

"There's a new realization that the Friant division is, in fact, connected to the delta and as the delta is constrained because of the Endangered Species Act issues, all of those things stack up.

Ryan Jacobson farms grapes in the Central Valley. He knows a number of farmers who over the last two years took crops out of the ground because of zero percent allocation.

"Percent really doesn't change that a lot," he said. "It just helps those people that have barely been getting by get by another year."

He says if things in the delta were better farmers would struggle less.

"I would say water allocation would, at least, be 75, possibly higher, than that. Based off of what we've seen as far as snowpack in the Sierra," Jacobson said. "And if we can keep working with the Federal government to release the additional water that we know is in the watershed, then the water supply situation should improve."
Related Topics:
newscalifornia waterfresno countyMillerton LakeMillerton Lake
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