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23ABC takes in-depth look at California's drought concerns impacting agriculture

90% of CA is already experiencing drought
Posted: 9:52 PM, Apr 19, 2021
Updated: 2021-04-20 11:49:32-04
CA drought concerns

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — State officials have conducted their annual snowpack survey earlier this month. According to federal statistics 90% of California is already experiencing some form of a drought. It comes after a dry winter and is raising fears that drought conditions could get worse. Although most cities have plenty of water storage to get through the year there is worry that there won't be enough water for farmers and rural wells could also run dry.

23ABC Meteorologist Brandon Michael's explains current drought conditions and rain averages.

23ABC Meteorologist Brandon Michaels explains drought conditions

"Because of our environmental concerns our water is being cut back. Much of the water is being let go through the Delta into the Pacific Ocean for the protection of the Delta smelt and salmon. Farmers up and down the valley have really been cut back on their supply of water," said Keith Gardiner.

Gardiner, a life-time Kern County farmer and owner and founder of Pacific Ag Management, has seen the direct impact droughts have on agriculture.

"They truly need it (water) to keep the economies of California and our low food prices low for the people here in our state. California is the bread basket of America. We supply 50% of all the fruits and vegetables in the United States. I think over time as our water is cut back, we're going to see our cost of living, our cost of food go higher significantly," said Gardiner.

Gardiner spoke with 23ABC to discuss the drought's impact on agriculture and how ag workers have had to adapt. See the full interview below.

Keith Gardiner discusses drought impacts on agriculture industry

Kern County Congressmen Kevin McCarthy and David Valadao, along with other California Congress members, are calling on Governor Gavin Newsom to declare a state of emergency as the state faces another drought.

"Obviously we are in the middle of a drought right now and we need the help. The federal side has already announced - the USDA under Vilsack has already called 50 of our counties in a drought situation and needing help and so has the Department of Interior but our state has not," said Congressman David Valadao.

Congressman Valadao and a handful of other California Congress members writing to Newsroom, detailing the ongoing issues the state is battling due to drought conditions.

The letter says, in part- "We write to urgently request for you to make a statewide declaration of emergency for the state of California. It is not a secret that we find ourselves yet again with a major drought."

"It's important for us to do it to make sure that every available resource is there to help our farmers and our communities," said Congressman David Valadao.

Representative Valadao joined 23ABC to address drought legislation and the push to get Governor Newsom to declare a state of emergency. See full interview below.

Local lawmakers urge Governor Newsom to declare statewide emergency due to drought concerns