Home>Articles>State Water Resources Control Board Announces That 6,600 Farmers May Have Water Shut Off

Lake Oroville, Butte County in Northern California, holding 53% of average precipitation. (Photo: California Department of Water Resources)

State Water Resources Control Board Announces That 6,600 Farmers May Have Water Shut Off

Whichever candidate says that they will divert water from environmental uses agricultural will get virtually every farmer’s vote

By Evan Symon, June 17, 2021 2:40 am

The California State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) cautioned 6,600 farmers in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta watershed on Tuesday that they may have water shutoff until winter.

This years drought, which Governor Gavin Newsom has already declared an emergency in 41 counties, has already brought down water levels not seen for decades. However, water levels are now so low in many parts of the state that natural flow has been disrupted, leading to thousands of farmers being on the verge of ruin and the state trucking out salmon to the ocean due to their inability to swim there from inland areas.

While agriculture and urban use of water is at critical levels, up to 90% of inflow water in some areas has been pumped out to the ocean, in part to provide fish natural passage to the ocean. Endangered species, including the delta smelt and the chinook salmon require a large amount of released water, a practice of which has been occurring for three decades. However, despite the sacrifice, no rebound has been seen despite 50% of all state water being used for environmental purposes.

Even with thousands of farmers being on the brink of being cut off from water, the state reiterated on Tuesday that water would still be used to maintain protected fish populations even as the food supply may possibly be threatened.

“This is how dry things are,” said SWRCB board Chairman Joaquin Esquivel. “The hydrology that we’re seeing is not there. There will not be enough natural flow.

“The state also must provide enough flow in the rivers to maintain populations of protected fish species in rivers while keeping cities and communities from running out of water.”

While some farmers may still get water due to being rights-holders in certain water distribution systems, most will be left out and may have water turned off if things do not improve.

Angry farmers, a possible recall election sticking point

“I am beyond pissed,” an anonymous farmer who is among the more than 6,000 farmers who may be possibly be affected by the shut off told the Globe on Wednesday. “We’ve been pushed and pushed on water for years in the Central Valley. A lot of people don’t understand just how bad it has gotten.”

“And now this. Don’t they have any idea what this will do to food supplies? To prices? A lot of farmers I know said they may sell and not come back. This isn’t just a one year thing. This is a huge impact that will last for years for agriculture to return to the levels where it was.”

“I get urban usage. People need water to live. And as long as they aren’t just outright wasting water like watering their lawns every day and doing a few things to help us out on conservation, you won’t hear a lot of complaints against them.”

“No it’s anger at the state and over the environment, particularly those fish that they’re killing us for to protect them [sic]. You can tell who the farmers or farm workers are around here because of the “Death to salmon” bumper stickers and other, to be polite, distinctive markers.  It is infuriating to see them pumping water out like that for just a few fish. We desperately need that.”

However, for him and other farmers who have Central Valley estuary water rights, once the water is off, it may take months for the water to go back on again.  According to a notice from the SWRCB, it may continue until rain returns during the winter. And with federal allocations reducing last month for agricultural and urban uses, as well as the Sierra Nevada snowpack being at only a little over half of where it was few years ago, the shut off may come sooner than expected.

“A lot of farmers are looking for anyone, or anything, to keep the water on,” added the farmer. “There’s a recall again this year, right? Whichever candidate says that they will divert water from environmental uses back to urban and agricultural, like what Trump tried to do for us last year, they will get virtually every farmer vote in the state. I’m not exaggerating. It’s that important.”

It is currently unknown when the SWRCB will begin water shutoffs in the Central Valley.

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15 thoughts on “State Water Resources Control Board Announces That 6,600 Farmers May Have Water Shut Off

  1. This is “Burn Down Capitalism”. Force family farmers out of business and take note who buyers and profiteers are. Control over food production will be consolidated to those with influence and power. We the people lose again…

    1. A very astute and disturbing observation @owednothing.
      It is my understanding this happening in Texas. The CCP and Bill Gates are buying up the farm land at staggering rates. The CCP claims they are purchasing to convert to Wind Farms!
      There have been many news outlets reporting on this in the past year.
      Here is one of several links:

      1. Exactly, I was driving past the Budweiser plant in Fairfield yesterday and was shocked to see hundreds of windmills in the distance. This used to be farmland I would assume. People need to see the big picture here and not let these environmental disputes blind them. We are in a takeover of our country and foreign actors want our land, water, and resources. This Governor could easily use his “emergency powers” to override these environmental policies until the drought passes, but he doesn’t want to. He is not working for us anymore. This is part of a bigger plan and we are just in the way. How are they going to fight the fires, they allow to happen by bad management, with no water? This is a recipe for full destruction and loss of life by design.

  2. And, since we’re discussing Lake Oroville & associated hydroelectric POWER generation, looks like Newsom & his minions are contributing to electrical power supply shortages AND hampering the farmers livelihoods (who tend to vote Republican and are generally not dependent on centrally planned government programs…)

    This is all concerted political power grab and I, like others, wonder if the Chinese Communists have Newsom on the payroll to weaken the state for an eventual takeover, if I don’t dare say, invasion???
    Don’t think it could happen with these loons???

    Read this:

  3. Is this being done to cause these farmers to give up or declare bankruptcy, so the Chinese can come in and buy up the land for pennies on the dollar, to ship the food back to their people in China???

  4. https://www.gopusa.com/china-is-buying-up-american-farms-washington-wants-to-crack-down/
    At the start of 2020, Chinese controlled about 192,000 acres of farmland in the U.S., totaling up to a whopping total of $1.9 billion.

    This is in part due to the Communist Party supporting agricultural investments as part of its “One Belt Road” economic development plans.

    “The current trend in the U.S. is leading us toward the creation of a Chinese-owned agricultural land monopoly,” Rep. Dan Newhouse, a republican, warned during a recent House Appropriations hearing.

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