Farm water reductions

Dry year for farmers

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - State and federal agencies have announced water allocation reductions that could have devastating impacts on the local farming community.

 The result of extremely dry conditions in California has caused government agencies to reduce water deliveries to service contractors.

 The State Water Project and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation both supply a significant amount of water to Kern County.  Both agencies recently announced the reduction in water allocations.

 "The reduction equals to the amount of water used to irrigate about 15 thousand to 20 thousand acres of farmland over the course of a year," said Creel.

 That reduction is only from the state's water delivery and does not including the federal reduction, which is equally grim.

 The federal agricultural water service contractors' allocation is decreased from 25 to 20 percent of their contract supply.

 The brunt of the problem will fall upon farmers who will have to locate additional surface water sources.

 "Farmers will also have to make some hard decisions this year about whether or not to either deficit irrigate some of their crops or not plant annual crops," said Creel.

 For the time being, residents won't see any reductions in water supplies. Local agencies that supply residential water will use the ground water storage banking system.

 "If we end up with long periods of drought or regulatory restrictions, it forces us to call upon those bank accounts. We could deplete those before we have an opportunity to fill them up again," said Creel.

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