Ken Westervelt: Call a halt to new almond orchards

08/18/2014 4:16 PM

08/18/2014 4:16 PM

After reading the front-page article “Almonds beat milk as Stanislaus’ top product” (Aug. 13), stating the huge increase in this year’s almond crop, and the Opinions section article “County must put moratorium on big ag wells” (Aug. 13), I have to wonder why there hasn’t been at least a temporary moratorium put on planting thousands of acres of new almonds east of Oakdale, at least until the critical drought problem has been addressed. We have local moratoriums on certain watering situations, and cities have put moratoriums on new homes or businesses when conditions warrant. So when will someone of authority – the governor or a local water management agency – say, “No more large almond planting until the drought is over”?

If something is not done to protect groundwater, a disaster is awaiting – not just for the small, local farms but the residents who rely on wells to survive. Call the governor or local officials to express your concerns.

Ken Westervelt, Modesto

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