“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.
Work has begun on a project at Folsom Dam to install backup pumps in case the level of Folsom Lake drops significantly.
California regulators have fined 30 oil and gas operators for failing to report how much water they’re using.
There were no changes in the intensity of drought in California over the past week and El Niño is not expected to end the state's historic drought.
California water regulators accuse company of illegally diverting water that is later trucked, bottled, and sold in stores.
The drought is changing the size and flavor of California's fruit.