Zero water allocation forces Valley farmers to make drastic cuts

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Farmers on both the east and west side of the Valley are scrambling to figure out how to deal with another year of zero water allocations. (KFSN)

Farmers on both the east and west side of the Valley are scrambling to figure out how to deal with another year of zero water allocations. Ag industry insiders were not surprised by the announcement from the Bureau of Reclamation, but they say less water means less produce will be trucked out of California.

Famers are harvesting bundles of Chinese broccoli. In a normal year, Teng Lee waters his crop twice a week. But because of the lack of wet weather, he's down to irrigating only once, and the cutback has a direct effect on his plants.

Like so many other growers, Lee now relies on underground pumps to stay in business, but for the second straight year he's had to drill deeper to hit precious water. "We have to raise our price a little higher, and it's going to affect not just us the farmer, it's going to affect everybody," added Lee.

The possibility of a fourth straight dry year is expected to take away jobs from those who rely on the Ag industry to make a living. "At this point right now we're talking over 40 percent. You'll have people have hardship paying their bills, things like that. So it's something we have gone through, but it's a situation we don't like," said Mendota Mayor Robert Silva.

Aman Singh laid off truckers at his family's company to stay afloat. He says there's less produce available to haul since farmers are ripping out their crop because water is way too expensive. "Big time, because we are already seeing it this year. We see the loads dropping, and we are barely getting loads out of here," said Singh.

Related Topics:
droughtwatercalifornia wateragricultureag watch
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