California Water Drought Spurs Farmers to slash Planting

Water is a scarce resource, and besides being critical for data center operations is an essential for farming. has a post on the California Drought.

Drought spurs Calif. farmers to slash planting

'It's ugly,' one grower says as tomato, melon and almond crops face hit

Image: Shawn Coburn, Juan Guadian

Shawn Coburn, left, and Juan Guadian inspect an almond orchard in Mendota, Calif., on Dec. 10, 2008.

updated 2 hours, 20 minutes ago

SAN FRANCISCO - Some of the nation's largest farms plan to cut back on planting this spring over concerns that federal water supplies will dry up as officials deal with the drought plaguing California.

Farmers in the Central Valley said Thursday they would forego planting thousands of acres of water-thirsty canning tomatoes and already have started slashing acreage for lettuce and melons.

As growers in Fresno and Kings counties prepared to sow their dry fields with tomato seeds this week, the giant water district that supplies the irrigation for their sprinklers warned them to think again.

Computer models of the state's parched reservoirs and this year's patchy snowfall showed shortages so extreme that federal officials could slash supplies down to zero, managers at the Westlands Water District told their members in an emergency conference call.

"We thought it was important to talk to our growers so they can make important planting decisions," said Sarah Woolf, a spokeswoman for Westlands, the coalition of giant agribusinesses in the state's fertile interior.

Watch for effects on Hydroelectric power.