Valley farmer calling on state to increase water storage

Brittany Jacob Image
Friday, September 23, 2022
EMBED <>More Videos

One Valley farmer claims he had no choice but to pluck hundreds of acres of his crops from the ground.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The devastating drought is continuing to ravage the Central Valley and is creating more of a water crisis for farmers.

Right along the edge of West Fresno County sits miles and miles of uprooted almond trees. Farmer Joe Del Bosque says he's never seen it like this.

"To do so many like we've seen this year --where there are thousands pulled out, this is almost unprecedented," he says.

Del Bosque took to social media last week to highlight the impact of the water crisis in California.

According to Del Bosque, the majority of the world's almonds come from right here in the Central Valley and it takes water to grow these crops, but Del Bosque says there's no reliable water supply.

Removing the trees in the orchard was his last resort, and Del Bosque says if they had more water, then they could have lived years longer.

So now, he and his farmer friends are being forced to pluck their decades-old investment from the ground.

"We are cutting our investment short and we're going have to start over again," he said.

Del Bosque says they've done everything to be efficient with their water.

He says every orchard and field has water-saving technology.

But that's not enough. Now, he's calling on lawmakers to increase their water storage to be able to save more water in the future.

"The state needs to step up," he said. "It isn't just farmers that are in the situation. There are actually cities that are on the brink of not having enough water."

Longtime journalist Lloyd Carter covered water stories for more than four decades.

He says his concern is with the location of his orchards - he says the Western portion of the county has severe drainage issues.

"They should've never turned that into farmland out there. It's an Alkalize desert," Carter says. "Farming is like gambling -- they took a chance and now, they're paying the consequences. The land is not suitable for farming out there and even if it was suitable, there's no water."

But Del Bosque disagrees.

"We have some of the best soil in the country right here, and we also have a unique climate right here in the Central Valley and a lot," Del Bosque says.

While some farmers still have a level of uncertainty about their water supply, Del Bosque says he still maintains his hope for the future of farming.