Faces of the California Drought
California’s drought has turned into hardship for many and economic devastation for those who have been most impacted. Their stories are featured in a new Facebook page entitled “Faces of the California Drought,” coordinated by the Friant Water Authority. Here are a few of the earlier entries. To read others, plus the scores of comments these stories have generated, go to Faces of the California Drought .
ARLEN MILLER, Orosi
“My grandfather started in this area with 40 acres. Over time, with a lot of hard work, we have built it up to about 500 acres. We grow citrus and kiwis and cherries. I feel very fortunate that the wells for our property have been producing for us this year. But they are dropping about 10% each month. Usually the groundwater gets recharged with surface water from the Central Valley Project and the snowmelt from the Sierras. If we don’t get that next year, the situation will be very dire.”
CHARLIE PITIGLIANO, Tipton
“My family has been farming in this area since 1920. Sustainability is very important to me. I like fish. I like the forest. And we’re doing what we need to do to keep those in check. But this Valley feeds and provides work for a lot of people. I understand that we need to have balance in the system, but that’s not where we are right now. This isn’t sustainable as it is. This is the worst year I’ve ever seen. We normally employ 20 people, and we add another 22 during harvest time. Our almonds are small this year, and our harvest will be lower because we didn’t get any water. If we get only enough crops to harvest for one month, we won’t need those other people. That’s 22 jobs lost right there.”
ANDREW BROWN, Orange Cove
“This is one of the scariest moments in my career. We’ve made it through freezes that otherwise could have wiped us out. Those are manageable with frost protection and crop insurance. Now we are at the mercy of things that simply should not be.”