Action by the State Water Resources Control Board to tighten controls of California’s water supply puts urban residents in the difficult situation already experienced by many California farmers. Thousands of farmers are currently facing zero or minimal water deliveries from their suppliers this year.
We’ve gotten so far into the drought that urban water users now have to deal with the same kinds of shortages that farmers have been coping with in recent years.
Severe farm water supply cuts will again cause farmers to tear out permanent crops or buy water on the spot market for up to 10 times what they normally pay. Similar cutbacks in 2014 cost the agricultural industry over 17,000 jobs and $2.2 billion in economic losses.
More than two million acres of farmland served by the federal Central Valley project will receive no water deliveries from their normal surface water suppliers. State Water Project contractors have had their supplies cut by 80 percent.
Farmers receiving water from other suppliers have also faced mandatory cutbacks. Farmers in the Modesto Irrigation District will receive a 50 percent cut in normal supplies and is the lowest delivery level in recorded history for the district. Neighboring Merced Irrigation District is expected to deliver no surface water supplies to its customers in the foreseeable future.
(These comments are from Mike Wade of the California Farm Water Coalition).