Friday, February 20, 2009

Breaking the bad news to farmers

We knew it was going to be bad, but this bad?

Federal Bureau of Reclamation officials today said that they don't have enough water to fulfill the contracts of many Central Valley farmers. Estimated supply to agriculture via the Central Valley Water project: 0 percent.

"Farmers in the Westlands Water District have already begun destroying thousands of acres of almond orchards and plan on fallowing over 300,000 acres of land," said district general manager Tom Birmingham in a statement.

"...Cropping decisions have already been made. Fields are being abandoned. The unemployment rate in the community of Mendota alone has soared to 40 percent."

The past two years have been tough on farmers. This year might break many who can't get enough water from wells or third-party contracts.

By the way, deliveries for municipal and industrial groups is projected at 50 percent of normal. Refuges and "water rights" contracts will get 75 percent.

Woe to the farmers, indeed.

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