(ETH) – In the valleys of central California, the search for water has turned into an all-out obsession as the region suffers through a drought that could threaten the US food supply. According to a new report from MSN News, Residents have watched with dismay as verdant fields have turned into brown, dusty plains, leaving shriveled trees, dying plants, and exasperated farmers.
Much of California, and of the broader US West, has suffered through years of lighter-than-usual precipitation and particularly dry winter. State and local authorities, fearful that there may not be enough water for city dwellers or wildlife, have abruptly cut supplies to farms, provoking anger and consternation. Along the roads between major farming operations, billboards have popped up everywhere, urging: “Save California’s Water.”
They accuse the authorities of “dumping… our water in the ocean.” Growers complain that the state’s Democratic governor, Gavin Newsom, is strangling them under a mountain of pointless restrictions, leaving them unable to fill their usual role of supplying America’s supermarkets.
A report from the Paso Robles Press reveals that the California Farm Water Coalition (CFWC), 2021 is on track to being critically dry—the same as the State’s last drought, which lasted from about 2014-2016. What’s worse is, as of Jun. 2, over 2 million acres—more than one-quarter of Californian irrigated farmland—is receiving 5 percent or less of its water supply. More than half of that is getting no water allocation at all.
In other areas of California, farms have reportedly had their water supplies cut by 25 percent or more, and 60,000 acres in Northern California will receive zero water this year. Founded in 1989, the CFWC is a non-profit, educational organization that provides fact-based information on-farm water issues to the public.
“We’re all about helping people understand the connection between farm water and their food supply,” said Mike Wade, executive director at CFWC. International Business Times stated: “I had two wells dry up last week,” 28-year-old Nick Foglio, a fourth-generation farmer, and feed broker, told AFP.
He added that he has “2,000 acres (800 hectares) of alfalfa going dry.” Standing in a dusty field near Fresno, he said he worries that with “the wrong political agenda, we’re simply going to starve ourselves and probably the rest of the world.” California authorities don’t seem to be hearing that message. Reacting to dire signs of a worsening climate crisis, they passed new emergency legislation last week to prevent thousands of people — notably farmers — from diverting streams or rivers.