By Vanessa Richins
Despite the fact that much of California is a desert, it is one of the leading sources of produce for the United States.
Especially important is the San Joaquin Valley, an area south of Sacramento.
There they grow tomatoes, as well as other important crops such as wine grapes, nuts and citrus.
As California enters its third year of drought, tomato crops may be affected. “The water outlook for this year is very dismal, in fact we don’t think we’ll be able to deliver any type of surface water to our growers at all this year, so we told them they would need to be planning a zero allocation,” said Sarah Woolf with the Westlands Water District. Many farmers will be left with only well water for their crops.
Valley tomato farmers must now decide if they need to reduce the amount of crops they are able to raise. This will just continue the vicious cycle of money and jobs lost.
The problems stem from an older supply system struggling to keep up with a booming population.
“We have a water system that was designed for 20 million people, we now have 38 million people, we can’t continue to be the agricultural breadbasket… unless we increase our supply of water,” said Rep. Costa. Farmers are hoping that new dams and canals will be built.
Since I grew up in Southern California, I am well familiar with the threat of drought to the world of gardening. I hope that a solution can be found so that tomato farmers can continue to produce.