Central Valley Farmers Wait Months, Even Years, for Wells to be Drilled

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More and more farmers are depending on groundwater in California's ongoing drought, but Central Valley ranchers claim they have no choice but to wait for months for their wells to be drilled because of the exponentially growing demand.

The sound of drilling is a sound of relief for Charles Voss, a farmer who has waited since June for a second source of water for his almonds.

"It makes me feel very, very good,” Voss said.

The owners of Calwater Drilling Company explained he's lucky because the wait for drilling is now years-long.

"People call us and say ‘we’re out of water.’ There’s nothing we can do," said Curtis Hennings, president of the Calwater Drilling Company of Turlock.

Hennings said they've been overwhelmed with the number of farmers who need wells on their ranches.

"No, no it’s not the kind of business we want. We like to help people and we can’t help people,” he said.

In a non-drought year, the company was able to drill about 150 wells, Hennings said.

In California's fourth driest year in a row, Calwater has built that many in 2015, and it's only April.

“It’s a lot more serious than I think the people realize. Water is everything,” Hennings said.

Calwater said they're using as many resources as they can while Voss and other farmers try to save their crops.

“That way we can continue to produce our crops, keep the trees healthy and keep going. That’s my livelihood, is the farm, not anything else,” Voss said.

Voss has also rationed his water to save some of his crops, which he believes may suffer long-term effects because of the ongoing drought.