SAN JOAQUIN COUNTY-
California is still in a severe drought and while many farmers are praying just to survive through the growing season, some growers in Manteca, Ripon and Escalon received good news that water won’t be a problem for them this year.
“Everybody in the district is really encouraged now that we are going to have adequate water to bring the crop you see here all the way to fruition,” David Phippen with Travaille and Phippen.
The South San Joaquin Irrigation District says recent rain, a bit of luck and not filling Woodard Reservoir helped them fully supply farmers needs.
“That water loss is roughly 35,000 anchor feet of water a year. By lowering the level of the water in the reservoir, we are able to save approximately 10,000 anchor feet of water,” Bere Lindley of the South San Joaquin Irrigation District said.
Phippen, an almond farmer, says the almonds are beginning to form on the trees, so getting this good news now is a big deal.
“What growers want to be doing right now is making sure this tree has all the water and all the nutrients it needs to set everyone of these almonds that it can possibly set, and the tree regulates that. We don’t, so if the tree feels really good about itself, it will set most of the crop,” Phippen said.
If the tree is not getting enough water it will begin to start dropping the almonds as a survival tool to save the tree, but almond farmers aren’t the only ones benefiting from the good news.
“Almonds and walnuts and peaches and cherries and corn and hay and beef and dairy and tomatoes, and I am leaving lots of people out,” said Lindley.
Mother Nature also helped make sure there was enough water for the trees, the late rain we got put off irrigating. Normally farmers would begin irrigating March 1, now they won’t start irrigating until March 17 saving nearly two weeks of water for the end of the summer.