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Gardeners losing work as drought worsens

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released new map Thursday showing about 80-percent of the state is under extreme drought conditions.
The impact of the state's dire drought conditions continue to spread. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released new map Thursday showing about 80-percent of the state is under extreme drought conditions. 58-percent of California, including all of the Central Valley is listed as exceptional, the worst category possible.

Many front lawns across the Valley are going brown, mostly due to watering restrictions as a result of the drought.

Gardeners say accounts are being cut quickly. One gardener told Action News he's lost 40-percent of his business.

Tony Gonzalez is in his fourth year of gardening. Over that time, he's built up a good list of accounts. He's even starting his own business, Tony's Green Lawns.

But, that work is being quickly cut thanks to the drought. "They're pretty much just cutting back on watering, and telling us to do less and less every time," Gonzalez said. "But eventually, if the drought keeps, if it doesn't start raining this winter, people are going to start firing us."

He says he was let go from one job last week. "Yeah, I've lost a couple of accounts, just recently," he said.

Gonzalez says he's not alone. Other gardeners he knows are also losing work.

He's lost only about 10-percent of his business so far. "I actually considered looking for a different job," he said. "I'm actually going to hold on to what I have right now. If it gets worse then I'm going to have to look into getting a different job."

Before that happens Gonzalez is trying to keep his work steady by looking to drought friendly options for homeowners. He offers chemical solutions and alternative irrigations options.

"Can they afford it, that's one of the main things," Gonzalez said. "A lot of people don't want to do it because it costs so much."

Because conditions are so dry the state has issued water restrictions. And cities like Fresno, which already had some restrictions in place, are shutting the tap a bit more.

Of course, these restrictions, designed to ensure enough water is available for everyone's daily needs. But when it comes to the gardeners they know until conditions improve their work will suffer.



Related Topics:
news california water water drought economy jobs Fresno
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