Saturday, February 8, 2014

How the Drought is Impacting Our Farms - Arnett Farms

For over 103 years the Arnett Family has been operating one of the best farms in California. Arnett Farms, located in Fresno, grows over 200 different varieties of stone fruits, citrus, and berries, as well as apples and persimmons.

Normally their water comes from surface irrigation from nearby lakes with pumps.   Today, those lakes are at 15-17% capacity. When they can’t get surface irrigation, they use their wells, which is much more expensive. This year, 90% to 100% of their water will come from the wells. They are working to upgrade the wells, but so is every other farm in the area and the service providers are back up 2 to 3 months. It’s a race to get the wells upgraded in time for the summer water needs. 

This is the worst year of drought in Scott’s lifetime - going into the 3rd year of little rain with no drainage carry over to replenish their ground water.  They are trying to convert to drip irrigation – most farms have stayed with surface irrigation in the past because it replenishes the ground water.

They are still in a major crisis despite the little bit of rain we have had recently.  All they can do is their best to get their wells in shape and hope that it rains.  


  1. What is the cost of switching to drip irrigation and also, are they considering to plant alternative drought resistant crops?

  2. They are a fruit grove so alternative crops are not an easy answer but drip irrigation is something they should be doing asap!!