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City of Orange Cove stops outdoor watering due to drought

Friday, January 31, 2014

Farmers and lawmakers gathered for a public meeting to address ways to deal with the statewide drought. They discussed a multi-million dollar water bond proposal to increase water storage in preparation for any future dry years.

It was an emotional meeting where several farmers cried after sharing how the drought is impacting their lives. They were joined by city and state leaders who are calling the ongoing drought a statewide water crisis.

Orange Cove's Mayor Gabriel Jimenez told lawmakers the drought is crippling to growers in the Central Valley. As a result the city is now restricting all outdoor watering, effective immediately.

"No more outside watering with potable water. In order for your plants or grass to survive you will have to use gray water whether it comes from your washing machine or dishes," Mayor Jimenez said.

State leaders announced Friday they will not send any water from California's reservoir system to local agencies starting this spring. Farmers say that decision will results in job cuts and fallowed land.

"The reality for me this year is I am going to have to set aside 40 percent of the acres I farm, "said Craig Pederson.

The news of zero percent allocation will affect Valley districts including Tulare Lake Water Storage District, Kern County Water Agency and Kings County. Those are all areas inside State Senator Andy Vidak's district.

"It is catastrophic to this district," Vidak said.

Vidak proposed a water bond to increase water storage for the state. A panel of experts backed the bill saying without it the Central Valley will keep suffering.

"The citrus belt, the grapes the nuts of them is the east side, when you take them to zero water allocation, which is what's gonna happen here, It's going to be a major crisis for those cities," Mario Santoyo said.

No one spoke in opposition of the purposed bill. If that bill does get enough backing, you can expect to see it on the November ballot.

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Tags:
water, drought, california water, central valley, local, mariana jacob
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