California farmers and almond growers count on reliable annual sources of water from state and federal agencies that regulate the state’s reservoirs and canals. The extreme drought here in California and in the west should be a wake-up call to take action to prevent water scarcity from getting worse.
As a nation, state and region we must take bolder action and become innovative in our approaches to use less water, save and store water when there is surplus and ensure our water conveyance systems are as efficient as possible. California’s drought has been exacerbated by California’s lack of investment and development of water storage infrastructure over the last 40 years. Today’s situation hits agriculture hard, which is an important part of California’s economy and the state is a top producer of vegetables, berries, nuts and dairy products. The Almond Alliance looks forward to expanding our continued partnerships and working on water storage, recharge and improving water quality in the State of California.
With much of the West experiencing drought conditions and California squarely in a second consecutive dry year, Governor Gavin Newson directed state agencies to take immediate action to bolster drought resilience and prepare for impacts on communities, businesses and ecosystems if dry conditions extend to a third year.
To View Text of Emergency Proclamation, Click Here.
Under the Governor’s direction, state agencies have been working together since November to prepare for continued dry conditions. The Governor recently formalized that coordination through the Drought Resilience Task Force, which includes the Natural Resources Agency, California Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Food and Agriculture, Department of Water Resources, Department of Fish and Wildlife, State Water Resources Control Board, Department of Finance, Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, California Health and Human Services Agency, California Public Utilities Commission and the Labor and Workforce Development Agency.
- California Drought Assistance & Resources, Click Here.
- California’s Drought Preparedness website, Click Here.
- Department of Water Resources (DWR) has updated its Dry Well website that tracks reports of water supply outages, Click Here.
- DWR has drafted a Drought Contingency Plan that explains how it will manage the State Water Project in a manner that protects fish and wildlife, Click Here.
- Countywide Drought and Water Shortage Contingency Plans, Click Here.
The White House announced the formation of an Interagency Working Group to address worsening drought conditions in the West and support farmers, Tribes, and communities impacted by ongoing water shortages. The Working Group will be co-chaired by the Departments of the Interior and Agriculture to build upon existing resources to help coordinate across the federal government, working in partnership with state, local, and Tribal governments to address the needs of communities suffering from drought-related impacts.
To Read USDA Press Release on the Working Group, Click Here.
USDA Offers Drought Impacted CA Farmers and Ranchers Immediate Disaster Assistance. Available programs and loans include:
- Non-Insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) – provides financial assistance to producers of non-insurable crops when low yields, loss of inventory, or prevented planting occur due to natural disasters including qualifying drought (includes native grass for grazing).
- Tree Assistance Program (TAP) – provides assistance to eligible orchardists and nursery tree growers for qualifying tree, shrub and vine losses due to natural disasters including excessive wind and qualifying drought.
- Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) – provides emergency relief for losses due to feed or water shortages, disease, adverse weather, or other conditions, which are not adequately addressed by other disaster programs.
- Emergency Loan Program – available to producers with agriculture operations located in a county under a primary or contiguous Secretarial Disaster designation. These low interest loans help producers recover from production and physical losses.
- Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) – provides emergency funding for farmers and ranchers to rehabilitate land severely damaged by natural disasters and to implement emergency water conservation measures in periods of severe drought.