“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.
New regulations on water use in California are expected to be announced Saturday by the State Water Resources Control Board.
California’s system of water rights is coming under scrutiny as the state’s drought gets worse. Today Governor Jerry Brown indicated there may be some changes coming to the century-old system.
When it comes to California drought relief, it’s been a dry year so far on Capitol Hill. Central Valley politicians and farm interests have been in Congress this week to remind lawmakers about the dire situation back home.
A report from UC Davis said two of the most dangerous traffic spots for wildlife are in Northern California, including Sacramento.
(AP) - California's nonpartisan fiscal analyst says the drought is not likely to have a significant effect on the state's economy or budget.