The search for water in the Californian valley has become an obsession as the region suffers through a hefty drought that could threaten the United States’ food supply.
The broader US West, and much of California, has seen little rain and a dry winter. Residents watch on as thriving fields turn into dusty, brown plains.
Residents were further exasperated after state and local authorities, fearful that there may not be enough water for city dwellers or wildlife, cut supplies to farms.
Many of them complain that the state’s Governor, Gavin Newsom, is imposing unnecessary restrictions on them leaving them unable to provide for supermarkets.
In response to worsening climate conditions, new legislation was passed preventing thousands of people, notably farmers, from diverting streams or rivers. In this situation, farmers usually have to utilise wells to draw groundwater from subsurface pools hundreds of feet deep, at costs of several thousand dollars. But unfortunately, the wells dry up as well.
28-year old Nick Foglio, a fourth-generation farmer and feed broker, complained that two of his wells dried up just last week, and that he has “2,000 acres (800 hectares) of alfalfa going dry”.
“The situation is pretty terrible,” said Liset Garcia, who relied on well water to irrigate half her 20-acre farm – until it dried up.
The 30-year old farmer said that the heat destroyed a majority of her crops. “There’s a lot of foliage that is already burnt and pretty much just crisped up,” she said.
“It becomes even a luxury to have food,” she said with disapproval. “Does that sound insane?”
The situation seems to be bleak; climate change experts say that the drought is only going to worsen, further putting food security in jeopardy.
However, the option of solar panels is being explored and does seem to bring some hope to the region.