FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE) – With little recent rain and snow, water allocations are now as low as 15% for some Valley farms on the west side.
Typically one of our wettest times of the year, this February is of the driest on record, not just for Fresno but much of California.
Fresno’s 2019-2020 rain year total of 3.53 inches hasn’t changed since late January.
It’s less than half the average by this date.
Just traces of rain recorded last weekend put us right behind 1885 when absolutely no precipitation fell at all.
Fresno County Farm Bureau CEO Ryan Jacobsen says, “We saw a 15% allocation for our federal contractors on the west side. And for the Friant contractors, we saw a 20% allocation for class-1 contractors.”
“The biological opinions recently signed by the secretary of the interior and the president actually did boost the allocation. 15% – while it doesn’t seem like a high amount — is much better than what we’ve seen historically for these same conditions for the past decade. … Those who have permanent crops are going to have to make these supplies stretch but in some cases, you may not see annual crops go in.”
Water levels at reservoirs like Millerton Lake are not far below what’s average for this time of year. Water saved last year can help us through this year should we remain dry.
Jacobsen says, “2019 was a very wet year but we’ve added very to that at this point. Our local watersheds are somewhere in the 45 to 50% of average territory which is much lower than we like to see.