CFBF conducts Water Shortage Impact Survey


Issue Date: June 18, 2008
Sharlene Garcia

The California Farm Bureau Federation is currently conducting a Water Shortage Impact Survey to determine the effects drought and water delivery reductions are having on family farmers and ranchers.

"As water allocations are reduced throughout the state, farmers are having to make tough decisions regarding continuing with crops already in the ground, fallowing fields and stumping trees due to the extreme uncertainty of immediate and future water supplies," said Doug Mosebar, president of the California Farm Bureau Federation.

"We need to know exactly how this water shortage is impacting your farm so we can fight for your needs," said Mosebar. "Policy makers must know that we need a reliable water supply to continue feeding California, the United States and the world."

Last week, Governor Schwarzenegger proclaimed a state of emergency in nine Central Valley counties, due to water shortages: Sacramento, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, Madera, Fresno, Kings, Tulare and Kern.

When the governor issued his executive order earlier this month declaring a statewide drought, he directed his state agencies and departments to take immediate action to address the serious drought conditions and water delivery reductions that exist in California

"Just last week, I said we would announce regional emergencies wherever the state's drought situation warrants them, and in the Central Valley, an emergency proclamation is necessary to protect our economy and way of life," Schwarzenegger said.

"Central Valley agriculture is a $20 billion a year industry. If we don't get them water immediately the results will be devastating. Food prices, which are already stretching many family budgets, will continue to climb and workers will lose their jobs—everyone's livelihood will be impacted in some way."

The governor's emergency proclamation is based in part on an assessment of the full impact that additional, unexpected cuts recently made by federal water officials to San Joaquin Valley farmers have had in the middle of the growing season.

As a result, the governor's proclamation directs the Department of Water Resources to work with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to deliver more water now through the State Water Project when it's needed most. It also orders his Department of Water Resources to transfer groundwater through the California Aqueduct to benefit farmers in the affected counties and the State Water Resources Control Board to review water transfers as quickly as possible.

Although a state of emergency has been declared, the California Farm Bureau still needs information from growers across the state detailing how water shortages have impacted them.

"California family farmers and ranchers are experiencing a water crisis, there is no doubt about it. We have to make this crisis clear to policy makers and we can only make it clear with your help," said Mosebar. "I know this is a busy time of year and growers have a lot going on, but please take the time to answer the questions in this simple survey. Five minutes of your time will help us help all farmers and ranchers who are being affected by this crisis."

You can participate in the survey by going to www.cfbf.com/watersurvey. Or fill out the survey on this page and fax it to (916) 446-1391. You an also mail the survey to California Farm Bureau, 1127 11th Street, Suite 626 Sacramento, CA 95814. If you have any questions about the survey please contact Danny Merkley, CFBF Director of Water Resources at (916) 446-4647.

(Sharlene Garcia is a reporter for Ag Alert. She may be contacted at sgarcia@cfbf.com.)

Permission for use is granted, however, credit must be made to the California Farm Bureau Federation when reprinting this item.