One Kern County irrigation district is warning its farmers there may be zero water in the canals

SHAFTER, Calif. - The drought has gotten so bad in Kern County some farmers are being told they won’t get any water from their irrigation canals this year.

Kenny Kirschenman and his family have been farming in the Shafter area since 1919.

In a letter from the Shafter-Wasco Irrigation District farmers were told the district doesn’t expect to get any water from the Bureau of Reclamation this year.

"There is a possibility we will have a zero allocation of water in the upcoming water year starting March first," Kirschenmann said.

That means zero water in the canals for irrigating crops.

"There is going to be acres of almonds that have no water available to them under the current situation," he said.

Farmers 23ABC spoke to say in order to keep the crops alive they are going to have to start pumping water from wells almost immediately and they say that is a lot more expensive.

Using well water is something they don't normally resort to until late summer.

"That’s a little risky because there is no back up if you well breaks down or sucks air," said Dennis Atkinson of Atkinson Bros. Farms.

Atkinson also relies on irrigation water from the same district.

“I am anticipating that there will be no water from the Central Valley Project for the Shafter-Wasco area," Atkinson said.

There is still a chance Mother Nature could come to the rescue but farmers aren’t optimistic.

"We are praying for the miracle March the fabulous February and the wild April it could happen we are not done yet," Kirschenmann said.

"Even if we get that it’s going to take quite a while for the water to works its way through the system," Atkinson said.

And they warn this situation will impact everyone not just farmers.

"This drought if it continues is going to affect everyone in the city your food jobs the retailer that sell products to the worker," Atkinson said.

Click here to read the letter from the Shafter-Wasco Irrigation District to farmers.

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