Author: Tyler

The drought is causing farmers to turn to public auctions to buy more water

The drought is causing farmers to turn to public auctions to buy more water

As drought drives prices higher, millions of Californians struggle to pay for water.

For the first time since drought began affecting California’s farmland in 2013, the price of water is soaring, leading some farmers to turn to public water sales as a means of buying extra water when prices were still tolerable.

The San Benito County farm auction that drew thousands to a remote, dusty spot in San Benito County’s Antelope Valley last week brought a steady trickle of water buyers into the field where California grows almonds, pistachios and more.

One of the many things you don’t want to be in for this week in California is a water auction, although you are probably in one somewhere today — and there are, indeed, just days (or weeks?) before the current deadline for selling water to residents and businesses comes and goes.

Because there is a limited supply of water in California, an auction doesn’t necessarily mean that the price is going to go up. But many farmers are taking advantage of the low price of water as a way to get more water onto their farm.

As the sun set on the final day of the auction, a man in his mid to late 30s stood with other water buyers and farmers while they waited outside to be called.

The bidding wars have begun.

“Right now they are at $.50 a dm3, so if it hits $1 a dm3 that day it would make water out of water,” said Dave Schlosser, who makes pistachio, almond and avocado oil at his family’s farm along the coast in Northern California.

“There’s a high demand for water and right now the prices are at or below the long term average,” he said.

In many ways, he said, there is little choice for farmers.

“I would say it’s more a public-private thing and it’s an opportunity for more people to get in on it,” he said.

Farmers have been relying on water delivered through the state’s Central Valley Project during the drought.

“Since 2013, farmers have sold the last of their water,” said Jodie Eshelman, executive director of the California Association of Water Agencies, based in Sacramento. “So they are using whatever

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