Valley farmers say water allocations not enough

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Westside farmers learned Friday they would only be getting a 5 percent water allocation from the US Bureau of Reclamation. (KFSN)

Westside farmers learned Friday they would only be getting a 5 percent water allocation from the US Bureau of Reclamation.

"The only thing that's being paid is taxes," farmer Bill Diedric. "There's no production here."

Diedric is standing on dry ground next to his very dry field that was once filled with tomatoes

"This hasn't been farmed for maybe five years," Diedric said. "Sitting here just like this."

He says it will most likely stay this way even though his fields are right next to an aqueduct.

The Westlands Water District farmer learned Friday after two years of zero allocation from the bureau, he and other farmers would be given 5 percent supply. And Diedric says that number is nothing.

"Five percent is a tremendous sacrifice for everyone," he explained. "We have to go out and buy expensive water and fallow ground like this in order to keep the permanent crops alive."

He thinks the district was only granted that amount just to keep farmers silent.

"Many other folks getting 100 percent but the Ag Water Service contractors get 5 percent if they would have come out and say zero it would have been politically very devastating," he explained.

Gayle Holman with the Westlands Water District says 5 percent is a devastatingly low number stemming from the Endangered Species Act that have locked up water from the delta.

"The danger here is that we send farming away from this area and then we look at a foreign food source when actually why would give away the most viable entity," Holman said.

Diedric is hoping his cries along with other farmers will be heard before its too late.

"They've been doing the same thing for nine years it's failed the fish folks its failing the farmers they need to do something now," Holman said.
Related Topics:
businessagriculturedroughtfresno countyfarmingFresno County
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