YOLO COUNTY, Calif. (KTXL) — Farmers in the region could get hit hard by the reduction in available water.
Many farmers in the area rely on waterways like the Sacramento River for Irrigation, but with the recent cuts, they’ve had to make difficult decisions — And there will be ripple effects.
“Last year we got some water. It was better than nothing,” said Yolo County farmer and former county supervisor Duane Chamberlain.
But this year has been different.
“All the canals are dry,” Chamberlain said.
With the cuts in the water supply the last year and the latest one, the California Water Agency said farmers will only a fraction of what they need. They’ll only be allowed 5% of the water they have requested, not the 15% promised earlier.
“I got some grain fields that don’t look too bad because I planted it before the October rain. I planted more grain fields earlier than usual. Those early planted fields look pretty decent,” Chamberlain said.
Chamberlain doesn’t get his water from the state but from Clearlake and the Indian Valley Reservoir.
“I don’t know what their deal was, but they don’t want to sell water this year,” Chamberlain said. “To cut us off completely is really a tough deal.”
While farmers search to get water elsewhere, they said this should be a wake-up call that more water storage is needed. And it needs to be released from the reservoirs wisely.
“You can’t just keep building houses and houses and keep planting crops in lands that is not irrigated and not increase your irrigation,” Chamberlain said.
To get through the difficult times, Chamberlain’s farms will be running on nine wells. While it may seem he is luckier than others, there is always something around the corner.
“A lot of my wells run on diesel, and the price of diesel is going through the roof. It’s going to be a tough year,” Chamberlain said.