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Fresno County Farmers, Districts Won't Get Federal Water Supply

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced Friday a zero percent initial water allocation for the Central Valley Project, which affect farmers and communities on the east and west side of the Central Valley.
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced Friday a zero percent initial water allocation for the Central Valley Project, which affect farmers and communities on the east and west side of the Central Valley. 

Although farmers expected this on the west side, it was the first time the east side received no water. 

"We are at two historic allocations that've been given to the county that are going to have devastating consequences this year," says Ryan Jacobsen, CEO of the Fresno County Farm Bureau. 

Those devastating consequences will trickle down to more than just the Central Valley's multi-billion dollar agriculture industry. 

With an estimated 200,000 acres of land in the Central Valley that will be left unplanted, those with agricultural jobs will pay the price along with farmers.

Fresno County Supervisor Phil Larson, a farmer himself, represents several west side rural communities where many of those jobs are expected to be lost.

"We're 45 percent unemployed in Mendota right now. That's going to go up to over 50 or 60 percent. Firebaugh, we're probably 35 percent unemployed," Larson says. 

During the drought of 2009, the Community Food Bank served as much as 18,000 people who were affected.

They say this time around will be much worse. They estimate they'll see as much as 25,000 people this year.

"Now with being out of work and unemployed and more of them not eligible for unemployment or food stamp benefits, they're looking to us," says Andy Souza, CEO of the Community Food Bank. 

As California's water crisis continues, leaders say solutions that involve plans for water storage need to come soon to help in record dry years.
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