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California Farmers React To The 25 Percent Mandatory Statewide Water Reduction

Apr 1, 2015

A field in Hanford. Submitted to the Valley Public Radio series Voices of the Drought by Brant Oliviera who runs Oliviera Hay in Hanford.

Governor Jerry Brown announced Wednesday the first mandatory water restrictions in the Golden State’s history. Valley Public Radio’s Ezra David Romero reports on how farmers in the Central Valley are reacting to the plan.

With the lowest snow pack in history Governor Jerry Brown says the drought demands unprecedented action. He’s mandating new conservation methods including new agricultural water use reporting guidelines.

Cannon Michael farms 10,000 acres of tomatoes and corn in Central California. He says the impacts on agriculture from the edict are limited.

MICHAEL: “I think there is a misperception maybe that ag isn’t participating, but they’re participating. You can’t get any lower than the zero percent allocation.”

Jason Peltier with the Westlands Water District says the mandate is a relief.

PELTIER: “An intangible value of this dramatic order is that it will shake up the agencies and say this really is a crisis folks, all hands on deck, let’s start taking some extraordinary actions.”

The governor’s plan also calls for taking action against water agencies who don’t share with the state data on how much groundwater they have or pump.