Re “Stop issuing new ag well permits” (Letters, March 3): Our family has farmed the same ground since 1934. We have relied on TID with some help from wells, in 1977, and survived.
We now farm 160 acres of trees; an 18-inch-per-acre water allotment from TID in 2014, a projected 15-inch allotment in 2015 against a requirement of 36 inches per acre for peaches or almonds leaves no alternative; you have to supplement with groundwater. Last year, we fallowed (left unplanted) 55 acres and moved that water to cover the trees.
For 2015, we drilled a $200,000 well. We hope we never use it, but look at it as insurance. Continued drought and a looming FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) requirement for re-licensing Don Pedro Dam (230,000 acre-feet per year, meaning 65,000 acres lost to farming throughout Stanislaus County) make it unlikely TID will be able to meet our requirements.
The choice is stark: Develop alternative water supplies or go back to dry farming (a crop of barley in alternate years and summer fallow).
Did the League of Women Voters talk to farmers? We are available; the vast majority are not outlaws.
Dave Muller, Denair