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Despite Rain, California Farmers Fear Another Zero Water Allocation

John Chacon
California Department of Water Resources

California reservoirs are filling up and the snow pack in the Sierra Nevada is larger than at any point in this four-year drought. Even still FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports all that precipitation may not mean more water for some growers. 

Firebaugh farmerJoe Del Bosque is worried that despite all the rain and snow the state’s received so far this year that he might get a zero percent water allocation for a third year in a row. 

DEL BOSQUE: “Water agency guys think it will come out zero and then maybe by some miracle we could get a little bit later in the year. But we don’t anticipate very much. Maybe it’ll go to 10 percent.”

Del Bosque waters his cantaloupe and vegetable operation almost entirely on water from the Central Valley Project. Without water flowing down the Delta-Mendota Canal he’d have to fallow even more of his 2,000 acre farm.

DEL BOSQUE:  “I intend to fallow probably about 40 percent of my farm. And the only reason I’m able to farm anything is because we  bought some very expensive water last year.”

The Central Valley Project supplies farmers on both the east and west sides of the San Joaquin Valley. CVP growers expect to learn their actual water allocations in the coming weeks. The State Water Project customers can expect to get about 30 percent of their allotted water this year. 

Ezra David Romero is an award-winning radio reporter and producer. His stories have run on Morning Edition, Morning Edition Saturday, Morning Edition Sunday, All Things Considered, Here & Now, The Salt, Latino USA, KQED, KALW, Harvest Public Radio, etc.
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