Many Still Pondering Low Water Allocations

Taylor Hillman Drought, Water

Many are still wondering how some growers who rely on the Central Valley Water Project for irrigation are getting such low water allocations this year. Consumers might see higher prices at the grocery store as a result.

Pomology Tree Crop Advisor David Doll says he was also a little shocked by the 5 percent water allocation projection for the west side of the Central Valley this year. “I think it’s very challenging and I think I am with a lot of the farmers when I’m a little ticked on how that allocation was determined and felt that we had an opportunity to catch more water and we just didn’t,” Doll says. “I really feel for the farms that are affected. It’s a lot easier to sit somewhere and say ‘oh well, this is farming,’ but for a lot of these farmers, it’s their livelihood, and in some cases, that’s a bit of a tragedy.”

Doll says it’s hard to watch growers either forced to change to higher-valued crops or close up shop all together. “I see the impact when I am out on the west side,” Doll says. “We see ground that is laid fallow that could be in vegetable crops; we see orchards removed that maybe could have survived another few years. Essentially they are consolidating their resources around the highest-valued crops. Although that makes sense, it does reduce the productivity in other fruits and vegetables, and if you look at general supply and demand trends, it will likely lead to an increase in prices.”