As drought conditions and extreme heat continue to plague California, farmers in the Central Valley are struggling to get enough water to feed their land — the bread basket of the Golden State.
But the weather alone isn’t to blame. Fish and Wildlife regulations tightly control water resources in the state, making it impossible earlier this year for the reservoirs to capture the rain, when it fell late last fall. And because of the endangered species in the region, pumping water is also restricted, leaving farmers high and dry.
“We had a dry winter and spring, and we lost the opportunity in autumn to capture the water, so it’s been worsened,” says Dave Kranz, a spokesman for the California Farm Bureau Federation.
He adds, “Farmers are only able to buy 20% of the water available to them in their contracts with the Central Valley Project [which controls the water resources]. And unless there’s a wet winter coming up, they might get 0% next year.”