State announces 0% water allocation to millions of Californians during drought

Local News

FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE) – On Wednesday, the state announced an unprecedented drought mitigation for 2022– a 0% allocation for water agencies serving 27 million Californians and 750,000 acres of farmland and businesses. 

This could mean mandatory cuts to residents and farmers. 

“That doesn’t directly affect Fresno County because we don’t get any state water, but nevertheless it shows the dire situation that we’re in and it’s water that matters for the overall portfolio,” said Ryan Jacobsen, CEO of the Fresno County Farm Bureau.

The federal water allocation announcement affecting Fresno will come in February. 

“With the 0% from the stateside, which is the first time ever for them to announce that it’s not looking very good for us unless things change dramatically here in the short term.” 

The Farm Bureau CEO said the county has seen several 0% water allocations on the federal side, especially during the drought from 2012 to 2016. 

“2022 shaping up to be one of the roughest years we’ve ever seen in this valley,” he predicted.

That means thousands of farmers will have to make drastic cutbacks, with several crops affected. 

“Tomato, garlic, onions, anything and everything that’s predominantly grown on the west side,” Jacobsen said, adding that Fresno is expecting another 0% allocation next year, in part because of the drought, and because of renewed environmental protections under the Biden administration. 

“Under the Trump administration, there were slightly better allocations for the long term in the valley. We’re going back to essentially the old biological opinions which are definitely gonna affect the water allocations we see here in the valley.” 

While Fresno County is not directly impacted by the state’s water allocations, in the Central Valley, Kings County and parts of Kern will be affected in 2022. 

The allocations will be adjusted early next year based on how much snow and rain falls during the winter.  

The state is making health and safety exceptions for some communities who need supplies for drinking water, fire suppression, indoor sanitization, among other needs. 

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