LOS ANGELES -- While most of the East is buried under ice and snow, the West is having a heat wave. It topped 80 degrees in Los Angeles Friday. President Obama is meeting with farmers in California's Central Valley who are struggling through one of the driest years in memory.
The White House is providing some help: $160
million in disaster relief. Nearly all of California is in a drought.
Farmer Joe Del Bosque says he'll have to leave as many as 600 acres fallow because he has no water.
In a normal year, Del Bosque's fields would grow lush with almonds, cherries and melons, but with reservoirs at record lows, the state -- for the first time -- is cutting off water to growers in the Central Valley farm belt.
"We are expecting to receive no water from the Department of the Interior," said Del Bosque.
The Fresno area normally gets about 11.5 inches of rain in a year. Last year it got three.
"It would take some 45 to 60 days
of rainfall in Northern California to substantially relieve the current
circumstances," said Martin McIntyre.
need to modernize it, update it and in some cases expand it," McIntyre said.
Del Bosque managed to save some water
from last year. That will go to save his cash crop: almonds. But he won't be growing melons. His 600
fallow acres normally would produce 600,000 boxes of melons.
Del Bosque is a second generation farmer in this valley. He fears he'll be the last.
"Next year, if we have another dry year like this and we get no water, I think I'll just be hanging it up," said Del Bosque.
Fresno County, where Del Bosque is farming, is the top agricultural producer in the coutry; there, 250,000 acres will lay fallow because of the drought -- an area bigger than Manhattan.