NewsCovering Kern County


Water crunch hitting Kern County farms

Farmers receiving 20% and 30% of water requests
Posted at 5:34 PM, Feb 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-22 21:45:36-05
You’ve probably seen the signs along the road, “Food grows where water flows.” The problem, this year the water isn’t flowing the same way as last year.
Catalino “Tino” Martinez of Valpredo Farms said his wish for the rest of the spring is, “We would obviously like to see Mother Nature bless us with more rain and snow pack in the mountain.”
Last year farmers like Martinez said he got 100% of the surface water he paid for from our aqueduct system. This year he’s only allowed 20% of his request and said that number could have been lower.
“That water is allocated to us due to the fact of last year’s water replenishments within the reservoirs,” said Martinez.
Water comes to Kern County in two ways, from the state government via the California Aqueduct and from the federal government via Friant-Kern Canal. With less access to surface water from those two systems means farmers like Martinez will have to pull more water from their wells.
Martinez said, “But if we don’t get the necessary surface water for year in year out, then what we’re doing is we’re over-drafting from our well water and eventually the wells could run dry.
The result of less water flowing to our farms could cost Californians.
“Prices could get effected due to not having enough water, especially on the short time notice type of situation that these annual crops are,” said Martinez.
Martinez said the water allocation numbers could change, but we'd need a very wet spring for that to happen.