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» January 30, 2008 «
With their irrigation supplies cut 30 percent, farmers in Southern California say rainy weather now helps them bank water for later. Farmers under contracts with the region's main water supplier had their allocations cut beginning the first of the year. But timely rain has allowed some San Diego County avocado growers to skip irrigation this whole month. By not using their full allocations now, farmers can save that water for later in the year.
Snowfall in the Colorado River Basin now has reached levels that are slightly higher than average. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation forecasts average runoff into the Colorado this spring and summer. Based on that, the bureau says it will provide normal deliveries of Colorado River water. But the water outlook for Southern California remains strained because of likely shortages from Northern California sources.
Signs point to increased artichoke supplies in a couple of weeks, when perennial plants come into production. Farmers say weather has been much better for artichokes than it was last year, when a January freeze caused considerable damage. Annually planted artichoke plants have been yielding good supplies, and artichokes have been developing well on the perennial plants. California farms produce virtually the entire domestic supply of artichokes, with production centered in Monterey County.
Consumers can expect average supplies of California-grown melons this season. The California Melon Research Board says it expects planted acreage of melons to match typical totals. The board says it does not expect San Joaquin Valley water shortages to reduce melon plantings. It says melons don't require a lot of irrigation because they mature fast. And because melons are deep-rooted, they don't require long irrigation periods.Top