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Bureau: No federal water for California farmers during drought

The California drought has now led to a complete shutdown of state and federal water supplies to farmers.
February 21, 2014 12:00:00 AM PST
The California drought has now led to a complete shutdown of state and federal water supplies to farmers in the Central Valley. Experts say it would take a miracle to turn the situation around anytime soon.

One official said Friday it will take a miracle to get us out of the drought this year. Another scientist predicts there might be some relief in the future. But everyone agrees that all of us need to start conserving water right now.

The parched dry conditions of California's farmland is now hitting the agriculture industry hard, especially Central California farmers.

With no end in sight to the dry weather, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation gave the grim news Friday that zero federal water will go to farmers. They've already been cut off from state water sources, with no letup in sight to the drought. That means higher prices for all shoppers. Some food experts predict a 10- to 15-percent jump.

Scientists gathered at the Ocean Science Center at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach to see how global weather affects us locally.

"Models are saying that by next fall, next water season, it's actually more than a 50-50 chance that we'll be in one of those rainy winters, so that's good news on the horizon," said John Dumas, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Oxnard.

Still, the study of a weather sphere shows that everyone needs to conserve and stop wasting water.

"Get out there, inspect your system, make sure you're watering your grass and not the sidewalk and the street," said Kevin Wattier, general manager of the Long Beach Water Department.

Long Beach is actually paying residents to tear out their grass in favor of more drought-friendly plants.

There's still time for the situation to improve. With a possible storm coming next week we may get a little help. But officials say we would need a succession of storms dumping mountain snow to really give us relief.