Farmers across the Central Valley are facing a difficult decision over the next couple of weeks and months-- to keep or destroy their crops, as the drought situation appears to worsen by the day.
"This drought is different than any of the other droughts,” says Joe Del Bosque of Firebaugh, in western Fresno County.
Del Bosque grows asparagus, organic melons, corn, almonds and cherries.
“We’ve been experiencing water reductions since 1990,” says Del Bosque, who has been farming since 1985. "This year we were allocated 5 percent and then that 5 percent was retracted. So right now we have zero." Reported kmph.com
“No assurance of CVP (Central Valley Project) water for irrigation this summer,” he wrote. "Dozens of jobs will be gone next year."
Last week, FOX26 News shared the story of Jay Kroeker, an almond grower in Kern County who says he will dry out more than half of his almond farm this year, cutting back from 4,000 to 1,500 acres.
He was told he’s receiving just five percent of the water allocation he requested.
According to a U.C. Davis, study almost one million of California’s 27 million acres of cropland were fallowed between 2013-2015.
Del Bosque says other farmers who fallowed their land have been willing to transfer their water, "But we're having trouble getting it here because the government agencies are holding onto it and do not want to let that water come here."
While Governor Gavin Newsom declared a drought emergency for 41 counties earlier this week, including $5.1 billion in what he called a "record investment in water resiliency and water infrastructure," Del Bosque says it doesn't do enough for farmers.
"There's two things that we need . Number one, we need to get a transferring of water streamlined so we can get water from willing sellers to willing buyers in a timely manner. Number two, we need to start working on storage. We really do need to invest in storage," Del Bosque says.