The governor spoke Sunday on ABC’s “This Week” just four days after his executive order requiring a 25 percent reduction in statewide water use. The reductions target residential, commercial and government use, but only require increased reporting by agricultural users.
Brown said California’s farms grow “most of the fruits and vegetables of America” and provide jobs for some of the state’s most vulnerable residents.
California is America’s leading agricultural producer, and farms use 80 percent of the state’s available water, according to the non-partisan Public Policy Institute of California. San Diego is a major agricultural county, producing nearly $2 billion worth of crops annually and ranking 11th in the state.
Brown emphasized how much agriculture has already been hurt by the state’s drought.
“The farmers have fallowed hundreds of thousands of acres of land,” Brown told ABC’s Martha Raddatz. “They’re pulling up vines and trees. Farm workers who are very low end of the economic scale here are out of work. There are people in agriculture areas that are really suffering.”
He said shutting water allocations to farms would require buying food from elsewhere and take away jobs from hundreds of thousands of people.
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