droughtvoices

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Matt Black

Some of the most vivid depictions of California’s drought have come from Exeter-based photographer Matt Black. In 2014 TIME Magazine named him their “Instagram Photographer of the Year” for his stark images of dust storms, dry fields, and parched rivers.

http://jayfamiglietti.com/writing/

Parts of Central California have been hit especially hard by the drought, and specifically the dropping water table beneath the ground. But as California farms and cities lean more and more on their aquifers, many are concerned that more and more wells will go dry.

This is not a new story. Huge portions of the San Joaquin Valley have actually dropped due to massive pumping of water from the ground dating back to the 1920’s. The question is – when will the taps run dry.

Tulare County Office Of Emergency Services

The drought in Central California has hit many farmers and homeowners hard. Perhaps those hardest hit are in Tulare County where the number of dry wells spiked this week. 

New data released today from the Tulare County Office of Emergency Services reports the number of private well failures in the county grew by 19 percent since October 6.

Andrew Lockman with the agency says the increase is due to more homeowners reporting dry wells and new data from partnering agencies.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

 

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

This story is part of a Valley Public Radio original series on how the health of rivers impact the health of communities produced as a project for The California Endowment Health Journalism Fellowship, a program of USC's Annenberg School of Journalism.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

In  this week's program we’ll talk about a water shortage that has left a whole Valley community waterless. FM89 reporter Diana Aguilera tells the story of Measure Z and the Fresno Chaffee Zoo.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio.

With fires raging in the region and no sign that the drought will ease up, farmers and even homeowners are on the hunt for water. The initial answer is to dig a new well. But wells are expensive. In this piece FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports on a solution that many Valley homeowners rely on.

Eugene Keeney hooks his 2,500 gallon water truck to a fire hydrant on the northern edge of Clovis. 

Johannes Hoevertsz / Madera County

For the last three days a water crisis in a small community outside Madera left its residents without potable water. FM89’s Ezra David Romero has more on how Madera County is bringing water to this parched community.

Thursday was the first day that the 2,300 residents in the community of Parkwood, just south of Madera, have had pure enough water to drink come out of their faucets. The reason? The well that supports the community failed.

Johannes Hoevertsz the county public works director helped distribute bottled water.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition we talk about mental health in Central California, one groups desire to end homelessness among veterans in Fresno, fires with Fresno Fire Chief Kerri Donis and a Bakersfield Instagram photo exhibit featuring FM89's Ezra David Romero's #droughtvoices photos.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Guests in interview above: Don Martin of Metro Galleries and KVPR Reporter and Producer Ezra David Romero. 

Over the past few months Valley Public Radio Reporter Ezra David Romero has covered California's historic drought.

He's written stories, snapped photos and launched an Instagram reporting collaborative with youth reporters, farmers and other social media users called "Voices of the Drought" using the hashtag #droughtvoices. 

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

The U.S. senate unanimously passed the Emergency Drought Relief Act Thursday evening. The bill provides federal and state water agencies with additional flexibility to deliver water to the most needy communities affected by California’s historic drought.  

Senator Feinstein released this statement saying:

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

More than 300 farmers, businessmen, and local and state leaders gathered in Clovis today to talk about drought and how to use water more wisely at the 2014 Water Technology Conference.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition we talk about Kentucky Derby winner California Chrome, drought at Friant Dam, a health partnership in Bakersfield about community design and a look into the Bakersfield Jazz Festival.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

This past weekend’s summer-like temperatures mean the state’s already meager snowpack is quickly melting. And for much of the Central Sierra, those waters will eventually find their way into Millerton Lake, behind Friant Dam. But as FM89’s Ezra David Romero tells us in our series Voices of the Drought, managing those waters is a tough job, especially this year.

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Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

May is almost here, and that means we’re entering the peak of the growing season – those sunny days and warm temperatures that make the San Joaquin Valley the most productive ag region in the world. But in this drought year, everything is a little different.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Traditionally the April 1 snow survey marks the peak of the year’s snowpack, but with a string of early spring storms surveyors are rushing to measure the pack with just days to get their measurements in. Valley Public Radio reporter Ezra David Romero helped in the effort as a snow surveyor on a recent trip.

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At 6,000 feet Christine Bohrman, our pilot and I hop out of a helicopter into a snow laden meadow below Courtright Reservoir in the Sierra National Forest.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition we discuss how the rural westside town of Mendota is prepping for the worst when it comes to the drought, talk with the author of the new book The Crusades of Cesar Chavez, explore a 2o year old street naming controversy in Fresno revolving around Cesar Chavez and discuss the Future Farmers of America’s fight to keep funding.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

 California is in the midst of one of the driest years on record and with over a third of the Central Valley’s jobs tied to agriculture and hundreds of thousands of acres going fallow leaders in the region are expecting ag jobs to be few and far between. FM89 reporter Ezra David Romero reports from one west side Valley town that is already feeling the pinch.

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Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The House Natural Resources Committee took up the issue of water for San Joaquin Valley farmers today before a packed gallery at Fresno City Hall. 

The Republican-led committee heard testimony from local growers and water managers on both short and long-term responses to California's drought and cuts to agricultural water deliveries south of the Delta. 

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