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Drought Wreaks Havoc On Almond Growers As Water Prices Skyrocket


Almond growers are desperately looking for irrigation water as the drought is takes a toll on California's almond crop - and not just for this year. 

Almonds are grown in California from Chico to Bakersfield, and most of the orchards from Tracy south are in dire need of water -- with little or no allotments this year.

Jim Jasper grows almonds in Stanislaus County. He says normally water for irrigation would sell for $55 an acre foot, but prices have skyrocketed for the little water that's available.

"The highest bid was $2,200 an acre foot. The lowest bid was a little over $2,000 an acre foot, so that gives you an idea of the demand for water," Jasper says.

Seventy-five growers bid for that water, but only 11 could afford the price.

California accounts for 85 percent of the world's almonds.

But Jasper says California is losing customers as the drought shows no end: "The anticipation of the drought and the effect of not being able to produce lost about 30 percent of our product in China just this past year."

Jasper says the drought could reduce next year's crop even if there is a wet winter since buds form during the summer.


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