U.S. Farmers Could Be Facing Strictest Water Restrictions Ever in Summer Drought

by Madison Miller

As an intense drought grips most of the country, the U.S. is seeing the ripple effects in several different ways.

One of these ripples exists within the agricultural world. As the drought impacts the West the most, farmers are going to possibly be facing intense water restrictions. This means growing their crops will become far more difficult this season.

Water Restrictions For Farmers

As of now, most of California is under a drought state of emergency. Several parts of the state currently are burning to the ground due to intense wildfires. These are a result of the drought and the intense heat (a factor of climate change).

According to ABC 30, the State Water Board released what is called a draft “emergency curtailment” order. It is for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta area. This is where the water shortage is impacting the most.

The new order will restrict farmers in Central Valley from using any river or stream water in order to irrigate their crops. It may seem like it just impact one season. However, these kinds of changes to the agricultural pattern take years to come out of.

“For some, ultimately, they’re going to have to make extraordinarily harsh decisions. Of pulling permanent crops, or not planting at least for another year. We don’t come out of this in six months. This is a multi-year process to come out of,” the Fresno County Farm Bureau CEO Ryan Jacobsen told the outlet.

Farmers will struggle to make anything of this farming season. Garlic and tomatoes are primarily grown in the Central Valley regions. So, they will have a significant price increase in many grocery stores. It’s an emergency situation, seeing as many farmers have never had to deal with this level of water regulation.

Water regulators will vote regarding this issue on August 3.

Other Impacts Of The Drought

In addition to a massive impact on the farming industry, the ripple of drought and dryness will stretch all across the country.

This includes Montana, where a beloved and famous trout will be under threat as this drought intensifies.

According to an article from The New York Times, the beloved rainbow and brown trout famous in the fly fishing scene of Montana are threatened by fish die-offs. High temperatures, low water levels, and a higher number of anglers getting back outside after a year away due to the pandemic is causing a state of panic.

Dead trout have been seen floating in rivers. There has been a decline in the popular fish over the last several years in southwest Montana.

These extreme and long droughts impact on the West particularly is causing some people to tap into other people’s water sources. According to The Guardian, there have been more than 12 billion gallons of water stolen in California in the last eight years. It’s been even worse as intense temperatures hit the country this summer.

Authorities have placed blame on people growing marijuana illegally in the area. The issue has hit farmers, small communities, and Native American tribes in the area particularly hard. There have been 125 reports of water theft just this past year. This is double the amount made a decade ago.