Years of drought-mandated rationing have left farmers frustrated with unreliable allotments of scarce water resources each year, threatening the state’s $43.5-billion agricultural industry. And with the state in a moderate to severe drought for the last 15 months, they aren’t likely to see matters easing soon.
That has forced growers to embrace a series of water-saving measures.
Thanks to the refusal of politicians to fix their unbalanced environmental and abusive water reform laws, California’s urban residents and farms contracted to receive state water have again paid for 100 percent of their contracted water while this year only receiving 35 percent.
The region has almost halted a ruthless 70-year advance of seawater into its water table. Reservoirs, conservation and recycling now sustain $3.8 billion worth of agriculture in the long swath of rich farmland immortalized in John Steinbeck’s “East of Eden.”
Recent surveys show a dramatic slowing of seawater intrusion, proof that reforms are saving this precious valley.