Dry January increases fears of worse drought conditions

EMBED </>More Videos

Thick Tule fog blankets the Valley this week, showing there is moisture in the air. But without rain and heavy mountain snow the drought is still in full effect. (KFSN)

Growers probably watch the forecast more than most in the Valley. And right now they're seeing that rain is not in the forecast through the rest of January. Another year of drought could cost the industry billions of dollars.

Thick Tule fog blankets the Valley this week, showing there is moisture in the air. But without rain and heavy mountain snow the drought is still in full effect.

The latest readings from the National Weather Service show the Central Valley is still the hardest hit area in all of California.

"I always prided myself on not having any gray hair, but I've been told that there's a few hairs that are starting to creep in," said Rick Cosyns. "It's something that certainly keeps you awake at night."

Cosyns is a Madera County almond grower. His trees solely relied on ground water this year. The farm is spending extra attention and money to keep its pumps working. Cosyns even pulled wine grapes out of production to redirect his water.

With no rain for the area since last month the state's top water official said Thursday we all have to prepare for the worst, a fourth straight year of drought.

The fear is seeing more orchards pulled up and more fallowed land. The agriculture industry lost about $1.5 billion last year because of the drought.

The Fresno County Farm Bureau predicts that could jump to as much as $3 billion unless conditions improve. "Obviously we're hoping the rest of spring has some water, but right now it's looking like it's going to be a hole that we're not going to be able to dig ourselves out of," said Farm Bureau President Ryan Jacobson.

The Farm Bureau says a good 7 or 8 storms a year is what we need to be on track. But even if that's the case reservoirs across the state are still critically low.

"It's highly unlikely, but at this point we're keeping our fingers crossed, saying our prayers that mother nature blesses us with late winter and early spring rain in the Valley snow in the mountains," Cosyns said.

The best guesses from Ag officials is that there will likely be a second year of zero water allocations for most growers in the Valley. The cost of all this could ultimately be passed on the consumer.




Related Topics:
weatherweather
(Copyright ©2018 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.)