In recent months, the valley's agriculture industry has been thrust into the national headlines, largely over the debate over how much water farmers use to grow crops. Critics say farmers use 80 percent of the water used by people in California. However farmers say that number is misleading, pointing out they actually use only 40 percent of the state's total water supply, where about 50 percent is set aside for environmental uses.
While that debate rages, a new bill in the U.S. House of Representatives seeks to bring more water to farmers south of the Delta. Does the new bill have a chance of clearing the U.S. Senate? And what does a practical solution to California's water problem look like, even beyond the drought? To bring some much needed perspective to these issues, we talked with Merced County farmer Cannon Michael on Valley Edition. He says the debate over how much water farmers use is misguided, as the general public ultimately is the end user of California's water, not farmers.