Growers thrilled by water allocations from federal government

Thanks to record rainfall this winter, there is a lot of water available but not every farmer is celebrating. (April 12, 2017)

On Jeff Brown's 700 acres of wine grapes near I-5 and Tracy, the sun is shining a little brighter today because water is back in full force.

"Well, we're ecstatic for the water," Brown said. "Definitely, we're happy to get the allotment."

 After years of drought appearing  to have no end, record setting storms have cleared the way for the federal government's Central Valley Project to deliver full allocations of water for the first time since 2006.

"Outstanding news obviously for the growers in that region that have been suffering along with the rest of us on the drought. It's great that the federal agencies came together and decided they could come up with 100 percent water allocation this year," said Bruce Blodgett, Executive Director, San Joaquin Farm Bureau Federation.

At the same time, a new study by Stanford scientists published in the journal Water Resources Research shows a portion of the San Joaquin Valley's ground water supply, pumped so much, the ground has sunk and permanent water storage lost.

That's because growers did everything they could to survive drought conditions to keep crops from dying.

The solution according to growers and the San Joaquin Farm Bureau Federation is a familiar one.

"Storage, storage and more storage. Whether it's above ground or below ground, anyplace," said Blodgett.

While thrilled about the good news, growers we talked to say with all the winter storms the 100 percent allocations should have been green lighted months ago.

 Because the government waited, some growers say they couldn't prep their fields in time for the water to arrive.

 For Jeff Brown, so much rain means a bumper crop for his 28 varieties of wine grapes.

 But ironically, they'll be worth less this year because he'll harvest so much more.

© 2017 KXTV-TV


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