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Farmer: Long-Term Solutions, Not 'Bandaids,' Needed to Address Drought

Without a promise of water for their crops, farmers have had to turn to other, sometimes unreliable, sources such as underground water.

Keith Nilmeier is a fourth generation farmer whose Fresno County ranch has been in the family for more than a century.

Now facing a lack of water, he's had to turn to a costly alternative underground. Some of his wells are already running dry.

He's just one example of so many others like him.

"With the population we have now, we have to have more storage, we have to have more conveyance," Nilmeier says.

He says the focus should be on solutions, such as water storage projects.

Friday, concerns of the drought brought President Barack Obama to Fresno to offer assistance.

"All we're doing right now is coming out here and putting a bandaid on a cut. And it's not a very good bandaid. The bleeding is still coming out around the side of the bandaid," Nilmeier says.

With more than 90 percent of the state experiencing a severe drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, both political parties have offered bills to address the situation.

But farmers say it's time to put politics aside.

"Because of partisan politics, we all lose. We all lose," Nilmeier says.

Experts say the solution that could really help is rainfall--and lots of it.

But in the meantime, farmers say better planning for the future will help everyone better get through times of drought.

"It's going to be a whole lot tougher on the whole population. The next two to three generations are going to be devastated by this unless we do something now," Nilmeier says.

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