California Farmers In Survival Mode Due to Drought
If you have not been paying attention recently, you may not be aware that the state of California is currently in the middle of what is turning into an historic drought. With water supplies running low and very near running completely dry, the large Western state is slowly but surely delving into panic-mode. Homes need water, businesses need water, and, most importantly, farms need water.
Believe it or not, California’s economy is largely based on agriculture. Thanks to the many farms that dot California’s Central Valley and all other regions of the state, many American tables are filled with farm fresh produce. This plentiful supply of produce is something that we experience, in some way or another, every day, but is often something we don’t really take the time to think about. Now, with water-allocation season already upon us, there exist some real worries as to how long Californian farming practices can be sustained through this intense drought
Water-Allocation Means Some Must Go Without
At the beginning of Spring every year, the California Water Authority is tasked with determining how much winter storm water will be made available for customers. Though this is an event that happens every year, this time around it is a much more difficult process simply because water is hard to come by. For small farmers, the Water Authority’s allotment process often sees their water supplies drastically reduced or cut off altogether.
For farmers like Mike Dewitt, who is located near Sacramento, the reduced quantity of water he receives means that his crop can only be sustained so long as its acreage is reduced. For Dewitt, reduced farming acreage means that he is cutting directly into his bottom line, the money he feeds his family with.
Though Dewitt has yet to find out just how much water he will be receiving this year, his common sense and intuition tell him that quantities will be low. There are many restrictions and regulations in place to curb the unnecessary use of water, but very few of those efforts over the past few years have resulted in any sort of noticeable reduction in the amount of water used by Californians annually.
For people like Dewitt, all this water usage means that of the 1,050 acres he usually farms, only about one third will yield crops this year. For many, this is a tale of survival that seems to be amplified and repeated each and every year. Though he will be able to derive some crops from this year’s planting, there is no saying what next year has in store, and the year after that.
Farmers have already begun implementing more efficient watering processes and have actively tried to reduce the amount of water it takes to keep a crop healthy, but something has to give in order for California farming to be sustained. The survival of farming in California is very much at risk, and unless something is done soon, I am afraid that California tomatoes, strawberries, oranges, rice, corn, and a plethora of other crops will all be nothing but a fond memory. This may seem like an exaggeration, but the reality of the matter is that the situation facing California right now is a daunting one.