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California's San Joaquin Valley

Megadrought forcers growers to abandon fields

San Joaquin Valley growers are currently struggling with the megadrought. California regulators have cut farmers' water allotments by a third due to low reservoir levels.

Joe Del Bosque, owner of Del Bosque Farms: “Our water supply has gotten even more limited. It's become less reliable and less predictable.” Del Bosque owns and runs a 2,000-acre farm in the Valley. He grows almonds, melons, and asparagus. The drought has forced him to change what he grows and how he operates his farm.

"We've always known that a lack of water is a potential hardship for our farm. But to get to the point where it completely stops the farm. We never thought that would happen," said Del Bosque.

California's water distribution is a complicated two-pronged system that ranks water rights seniority and public importance. The large canals are running along with farms in the Valley move water from northern parts of the state to the south. The water is already allotted, and very little of it is for the farms.

Most of the fruits and vegetables eaten in the United States are grown in the region. The farms produced 80% of the world's almonds. The water cutbacks impact the farms' output, and farmers say it will be reflected in the grocery stores.


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