West side farmers frustrated with water allocations despite historic Sierra snowpack


Fresno, CA –  The California Department of Water Resources released monumental snowpack numbers.
They say February reached more than 43 inches in water conent after just 18 inches at the end of January. But some farmers are still being shorted for water allocation.

“There are no average years in California, there are wet years and dry years and we’re idiots because we don’t catch the water in the wet years and save it in the dry years.”

Paul Betancourt is just one of many farmers on the west side of Fresno County who have only been allocated 35% of this year’s water content, which is at record levels following another series of storms.

“We’ve got a 150% of normal snowpack for April 1st, not even March 1st and what’s the bureacracy response, you only get 35% can you understand our frustration.”

The Sierra Nevada mountains supply 30% of California’s water needs. In the last month roughly 10-feet of snow has piled up. equaling more than 43 inches in water content. But many farmes won’t know if the Bureau of Reclamation will increase their allocation of water until mid March.

“They’re going to bring it up to 50% or something and then on April 15th they will give us 80% and then come May they will give us 100%, we’re already planted.”

Betancourt says the water supply has been politicized, and the system of water allocation is detrimental to the entire Valley.

“The farmers end up hurting and the local economy, so everybody who works and lives in the Valley is affected by this.”

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