April 9, 2015

CA Farm Water Coalition Illustrates Severity of Drought on Farmers; Brown Holds Drought Meeting

Today the California Farm Water Coalition issued the results of a survey indicating that in 2015 over 40% of the state’s irrigated farmland will lose 80% or more of its normal surface supply.  Coalition Executive Director Mike Wade issued a statement on the report which highlights some of the quantifiable effects the ongoing drought is having on farmers in the Central Valley.

According to Wade, "The survey of agricultural water suppliers conducted the first week of April shows that 3.1 million acres, or 41.6 percent of California's irrigated farmland, is expecting deep cuts to the water delivered in a normal year. That is an area 10 times the size of Los Angeles.”

Wade went on to say, “The survey also revealed that almost 30 percent of the irrigated farmland in the state, 2.2 million acres, will get no surface water deliveries this year.”

In other water news, Governor Jerry Brown held a mostly private meeting at the Capitol with agriculture, environmental and urban water agency leaders to discuss the drought.  Media coverage was restricted to the final few minutes of the meeting.

Agriculture industry organizations were represented by Dave Puglia of Western Growers, Paul Wenger of the California Farm Bureau Federation, and Emily Rooney of the Agricultural Council of California. 

During his initial announcement last week, Brown was quoted as saying, “As Californians, we have to save water in every way we possibly can and we have to pull together.  We have to become more resilient, more efficient and more innovative and that’s exactly what we are going to do.”

“The meeting was very constructive,” said Puglia.  “The governor was highly engaged and informed, and he encouraged us to speak candidly, which agriculture industry representatives certainly did.  At the same time, I think we all appreciated the governor’s admonition that while we individually represent diverse interests, we should try to approach the issues at the heart of the crisis as Californians first.”