Valley Drought 2014: Local Growers Need More Water
By Erik Rosales
FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KMPH) — "Valley Drought 2014" has valley growers concerned about their future.Westside grower, Joe Del Bosque says because of the state is refusing to give him enough water for his fields.He like many others is leaving hundreds of acres bare, which will mean higher prices for consumers later.Del Bosque says, "These are not little pieces of land. This is 150 acres behind me that is sitting there idle that is some of the best ground that you can grow tomatoes or melons on."Local growers say they understand Governor's Brown's concern about long term debt.However they say his 6 billion dollar water bond is not enough to build the water storages needed to solve the problem.Growers say we've already been down this road before, and the current 11.1 billion dollar water bond, negotiated back in 2009 under then Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger needs to stay on the November ballot.Del Bosque says, "We have 38 million people now with the infrastructure that was built 15 years ago. So people are there just isn't enough capacity, enough infrastructures."The bond will cover water projects like increasing capacity in reservoirs, urban water recycling, building temperance flat dam, east of Fresno, groundwater contamination cleanup and other water-saving projects.Due to a lack of surface water and in an effort to survive this drought a lot of Westside growers are forced to use well water to try and keep their crops alive. But the well water is having devastating effects on crops because of the high concentration of salt.Del Bosque says, "Well water is not the answer it's just a Band-Aid you want to use as little as possible."The water bond amount is still being negotiated by state law makers.It will take two-thirds votes in the Assembly and Senate, plus the Governor's signature to replace the current 11.1 billion dollar bond on the November ballot.
KMPH Fox 26 is the Central Valley's news leader, covering Fresno, California and the surrounding area, including Clovis, Madera, Hanford, Visalia, Biola, Kerman, Tranquillity, San Joaquin, Reedley, Coalinga, Avenal, Lemoore, Tulare, Selma, Caruthers, Tollhouse, Three Rivers, Porterville, and Merced.