Agriculture · Hanford

Facing ag demand, South Valley demands Newsom boost water supplies

Facing growing demands for food nationwide, south Valley water users and Kings County officials are pushing Gov. Gavin Newsom to increase water allocations via the State Water Project.

In a letter issued to Newsom on Monday, the group of water users and government agencies sought an increase in water allocation from the current 15 percent of the contracted amount to 35 percent.

“Storms in the past week have deposited several feet of snow onto the Sierras, which has increased the trend of the year’s hydrology to nearly 70 percent of average,” the letter from south Valley water users reads.

“This March snow is a blessing, especially if the State Water Project allocation responsibly reflects this reality.”

The letter notes that a boost in water allocation will have a doubling effect on the region’s agriculture industry.

“An increase in the SWP allocation would increase imminent seasonal plantings, generating positive social and economic benefits for many communities,” the letter reads. “Increased plantings will require higher employment and additional hours through the harvest season, which will alleviate the impending unemployment spike.”

Among water users, the signatories include Tulare Lake Basin Water Storage District, Kettleman City Community Services District, Alpaugh Community Services District, Empire-Westside Irrigation District, Dudley Ridge Water District, Berrenda Mesa Water District, Belridge Water Storage District, Lost Hills Water District, Henry Miller Water District, Kern Delta Water District, Home Garden Community Services District, and Kings County Water District.

Among government officials and agencies, signers include Kings County Supervisors Chairman Doug Verboon, Kings County Supervisor Richard Valle, the Kings County Farm Bureau, the City of Lemoore, the City of Corcoran, the City of Avenal, along with the Kings County Farm Bureau and Kings County Economic Development Corporation.

Read the Letter

Alex Tavlian
Alex Tavlian is the Executive Editor of The San Joaquin Valley Sun and Executive Director of Valley Future Foundation. You can reach Alex at [email protected]