Dry Weather Has Farmers Feeling Nervous

Some are considering water rationing, which would likely increase consumer prices for products.

Happy Boy Farms sells a variety of fresh produce each week at the Mountain View Farmers Market. (Photo by Christopher Nguyen)
Happy Boy Farms sells a variety of fresh produce each week at the Mountain View Farmers Market. (Photo by Christopher Nguyen)

Written by Francesca Mateo 

“No rain, it is no good,” Joe Fernandez a Sunrise Nursery flower vendor at the Mountain View Farmer’s Market said this week, as he described how much lower well water is. California’s drought has led to Governor Brown’s declaration for a State of Emergency and the farmers are feeling the hit. 

According to the California Department of Water Resources, the state is currently dry statewide and although December to March is considered the wet season, the state’s reservoir storage is at about 75 percent of the wet season’s average. 

“People are not realizing the seriousness,” Lisa Jensen, from Suncoast Organic Farm in Hollister, said. Despite many Californians “enjoying the weather,” Jensen said, “we are facing a very different time.” 

Jensen went on to say that the lack of rainfall is “definitely affecting” the Sun Coast Organic Farm, which has 600 olive trees and 120 fruit trees. She explained that because of the lack of rainfall, the farm has had to take more precautions in rationing its water. And because this is their first year, the cutbacks are making it difficult to determine the effects of the drought. 

Mike Martinez, of Happy Boy Farms in Soquel, said that although the farms are being directly affected by the drought, their prices at the farmer’s market would not increase. Happy Boy Farms depends on water from its own wells, so they are able to maintain prices for their products. 

However, if the well runs dry, Martinez said the farm will need to “tap in reservoirs” and the prices would then have to increase.  “If snowfall does not melt, it won’t replenish our wells,” Martinez said.

Tom Kabat January 29, 2014 at 10:45 AM
Thank you for providing the link. It shows the statewide reservoir storage is about 62% of average for this date (well below the 75% number in the article). Snowpack is about 12% and future precipitation is also forecast below average for Feb-Mar. So runoff would be very low also. Time to conserve.


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