Government Uncertainty Gives Farmers more Worries than Snow Survey
The most recent snow survey told local farmers and water managers what they already knew — 2014 will be a hard year for agriculture.
Local sources had a muted response to the Department of Water Resource's April 1 snow survey, which showed Sierra snowpack at 32 percent of normal.
A DWR press release said the meager snowpack "promises a gloomy summer for California farms and many communities." But local water managers were more concerned with the amount of water, if any, they will receive this summer rather than yet another confirmation of the severity of the state's drought.
"It is what it is. We knew what was coming," said Lynn Phillips, general manger of the Sutter Extension Water District, which receives deliveries from the State Water Project at Lake Oroville.
The district has been preparing for 50 percent water deliveries (the lowest its contract allows) for months, Phillips said.
Andy Duffy, general manager of Meridian Farms Water Co., was so immersed in working to improve the company's final allocation he hadn't yet read the snow survey.
"I have bigger fish to fry right now," Duffy said, referring to a dispute over the 40 percent allocation to Sacramento River settlement contractors by the Bureau of Reclamation.
Meridian Farms is one of a number of Sacramento River settlement contractors that claims the maximum cut allowable in the water right is 25 percent.
Duffy said he was disappointed in the lack of information coming from the bureau regarding the claim.
"You know as much as I do, at this point," Duffy said. "I was hoping for more than the 40 percent, but I haven't heard anything yet."