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Drought In California Bumps Supermarket Prices

Some parts of California haven't seen rain since July 1. This week, farmers were told they will not receive water from government reservoirs.

The entire state of California is under a drought emergency, including this hiking trail in Fresno County.

The bad news continues for drought-stricken California farmers, who learned this week they will not receive water from the government. Soon, grocery shoppers will share farmers’ economic woes as supermarket prices go up.

Water Woes

The federal government announced this week it would not be providing irrigation from any of the state’s rivers, canals or reservoirs including major water projects. Farmers will not receive water from the Central Valley Project or, for the first time in 54 years, from the State Water Project.

Less Water, Less Food

The current drought in California is one of the worst in recorded history. From contractors to wildlife refuges, all are doing with less water this year. Though farmers have been trying to cope with the water shortage, the news still comes as a blow.

Farmers are leaving their fields unplowed and, consequently, many workers without jobs. Some crops, like watermelon, lettuce and cantaloupe, aren’t being planted, and farmers who raise meat are seeing their livestock dwindle.

The ripple effect is about to hit grocery stores, where a $40 shopping trip is expected to go up as much as 15 percent.

Any Good News?

What about home gardens? In the massive drought, conservation is a necessity.

Growing your own vegetables is an option—home gardens take less water than large, commercial endeavors. The San Fransisco Gate has tips for the home gardener, including fixing leaks, choosing good soil, and planting in February and early March to take advantage of any rainfall that may come.

That much-needed rain is on its way, thankfully, but with every square inch of California in severe drought, relief won’t come fast enough.

Read More:

  • Water crisis in California to drive up food prices (ABC News10)
  • Drought-hit farmers in California won’t get federal water (CBS News)
  • California Is Finally Set to Get Rain, But It Won’t Quench the Drought (TIME)
Liz Leslie

Liz Leslie is a journalist based in Chicago. When she's not writing about food, she's likely eating food. Or dreaming about food.

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