“The water is so short this year that it’s driven the price of water up,” says Frank Zonneveld, who grows nuts, hay, corn and tomatoes in Kings and Fresno counties
So since he can no longer rely on surface deliveries from watersheds or the federal Central Valley Project, he’s turning to underground wells instead.
“And I don’t know where all my wells are sitting at. As the water table’s drawn down more heavily, some of my pumps could be sitting shallower, and they could be out of reach of water. And then I’ll have to – if the well’s deep enough, I’ll have to lower the pumps. If not, I’ll have to dig new wells.”
But well drillers’ waiting lists are long – several months for Zonneveld, more than a year for another farmer.
And then, there are the farmers who grow crops in the Westlands area – the western part of Kern and Kings counties. They’re the ones who rely solely on the State Water Project – and on Friday, they learned they’ll get no water at all this year. They don’t have wells to turn to, meaning they’ll have to choose which parts of their land to leave empty.
Mandatory statewide water conservation rules have ended in California. But Sacramento-area users conserved 22 percent in June, compared to June 2013.
California and federal agencies say a new strategy is needed to save the endangered Delta smelt.
California is in the fifth consecutive year of drought, but state water managers ended mandatory conservation rules. Local water suppliers now determine conservation rates, and some have low or no targets. A water expert says that's 'shortsighted.'
California is in the fifth consecutive year of drought. Although mandatory statewide water conservation is over, the State Water Resources Control Board says water conservation remains a "top priority."
The California Water Resources Control Board Wednesday says Californians cut water use by 28 percent in the final month of mandatory statewide conservation.