Thursday, March 5, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Agriculture well permit applications spiking, likely due to drought

By
From page A12 | June 25, 2014 |

With the drought well into its third year, farmers are turning to groundwater to keep their crops green. Applications to install or replace agricultural wells spiked this year, doubling from last year. Residential applications rose slightly, having dropped steadily since the 2004-2006 housing boom.

“It’s kind of a tough thing for farmers right now,” said Dennis Chambers, the county’s chief deputy agricultural commissioner. “Water is the gold in California.”

While residential permit applications have decreased over the last decade, farmers replacing their wells to deal with the ongoing drought have driven agricultural applications to decade-high numbers.

While residential permit applications have decreased over the last decade, farmers replacing their wells to deal with the ongoing drought have driven agricultural applications to decade-high numbers.

With no surface water allocations from the Yolo County Flood Control District and limited supplies coming from elsewhere, farmers are turning to the land’s liquid gold reserves.

“We’re doing five years of work in two,” said Tom Eaton of Eaton Drilling Co. Inc, a Woodland-based well drilling company.

Most of their recent business has been replacing wells that farmers are turning to for the first time in years.

“It’s the backup system,” Eaton said. “Groundwater is pretty much regulated by the price of energy.”

But, he emphasized, business has steadily decreased around the county since he started working for his father in high school in the 1970s. Now, farmers requesting wells face wait times of up to a year. And there is no data on how many of the applications actually result in completed projects.

“A big part of the story of why it takes so long to get a well drilled is because there are so few of us left,” Eaton said.

Yolo County has seen a boom in tree crop plantings in the last five years. From 2007 to 2012, almond acreage increased 52 percent, walnuts 70 percent. While these crops are more valuable and can be slightly less labor intensive, they are expensive investments and harden the water demand for the lifetime of the orchard.  This could be one reason wells are being replaced — farmers cannot afford to leave their orchards dry for a year, said Chambers and Eaton.

“With any of the permanent crops, as we see those numbers increase, we’re going to see the wells going in because that’s a tremendous investment in the ground,” Chambers said.

Comments

comments

Elizabeth Case

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Mother pleads not guilty to lesser charges in baby’s death

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    ‘The Liar’ will have audiences in stitches

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Hibbert Lumber honored as an Owl Wise Leader

    By Felicia Alvarez | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Bob Dunning: Is there a fair way out of this?

    By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

    Boots help dogs deal with cold

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

     
    High court hears Obamacare arguments

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Fiesta dinner, auction benefit Chávez School

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    World Language Fair brings nations to Davis

    By Krystal Lau | From Page: A3

    Get crackin’ for Yolo Crisis Nursery

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Taizé service set Friday at DCC

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Climate Lobby will meet March 11

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Be featured in Woodland’s water-wise landscape tour

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    UFC speaker series gives ‘A Winemaker’s Journey’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Speaker will illuminate universe’s dark side

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Divorce options covered in Saturday workshop

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Author events coming up at The Avid Reader

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    Community forum with police will address hate in Davis

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    .

    Forum

    No real reason to stay

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Migratory waterfowl threatened

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Dog in shopping cart concerning

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Drought stresses California’s trees

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

     
    Initiative carnival coming next year

    By Tom Elias | From Page: A6

    Hunting has many benefits

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    This river needs our help

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Vernal pools are in danger

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    .

    Sports

    DHS boys track team has high aspirations

    By Dylan Lee | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Blue Devil boys mash Marauders

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Devils’ big inning is the difference in baseball opener

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    DHS golfers dominate Elk Grove

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Davis softball offense explodes for first win

    By Chris Saur | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    San Antonio enjoys home cooking to rout Sacramento

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

    Youth roundup: U15 Knights rout El Dorado Hills

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

     
    Youth soccer: Barker lights it up for Blue Thunder

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

    Sports briefs: DHS swimmers speed past Herd

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8

     
    .

    Features

    DHS sophomore honored for volunteerism

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A5

     
    .

    Arts

    Hear EZ Street Saturday at winery

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

     
    UC Davis bands perform on March 11

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A7

     
    Wealth of Nations plays Saturday

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

    ‘Witness for the Prosecution’ to be screened Sunday

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

     
     
    Resler releases memoir, ‘The Last Protégée’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

    Athens Guitar Duo to perform at Davis Arts Center

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

     
    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Thursday, March 5, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B6