18 April 2015 (NBC News) – Tony Azevedo’s a third-generation farmer in California’s Central Valley. For decades, his family has grown cantaloupes. This year, he won’t — and he’ll leave a third of his 11,500-acre farm fallow.
“This field would have been cantaloupes, had we had the water,” he explained, pointing to some of his unplanted acres. “Tomatoes, garlic, beans — there are plenty of crops we could have grown.”
Azevedo says he needs to be strategic with how he allocates his groundwater, which he pumps from underground aquifers to irrigate his crops.
“It’s very unusual for us to use well water 100 percent like we’re using today,” he said. “You take a glass of water and you put one straw, two straws, three straws — eventually you’re going to run out of it, right? Well, that’s what the aquifer is. It’s a big cup, and we’re all pulling out of it.”