Drought Worries California Farmers

Jan 20, 2014

By Amanda Brodhagen, Farms.com

California’s agricultural community is dealing with unprecedented drought conditions.

On Friday, Gov. Jerry Brown called a Drought State of Emergency amid what is believed to be the driest year in recorded state history. Brown asked state officials to assist farmers and communities who are affected by the drought conditions. “I’ve declared this emergency and I’m calling all Californians to conserve water in every way possible,” Brown said in a news release.

California is the largest agricultural producing state in the nation, which uses about 80 percent of the state’s water supply. The announcement was welcomed by California growers who are looking for a solution to the state’s water problems, but also know that the declaration won’t result in an immediate solution. The proclamation serves as a short term measure and gives state officials more authority to manage the water supply throughout the state.

In addition to allowing more flexibility related to the state’s water regulations, this latest announcement represents a series of orders issued by the governor.  Last May, Brown gave an executive order to state water officials asking them to review the administrative process for allowing voluntary transfers of water. Also, in December, the governor created a drought task force to prepare for water scarcity in anticipation of a drought related emergency.

“We can’t make it rain, but we can be much better prepared for the terrible consequences that California’s drought now threatens, including dramatically less water for our farms and communities and increased fires in both urban and rural areas,” said Brown.

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