Tanimura & Antle's Rick Antle Raises Awareness for Salinas Groundwater in LA Times Feature
- by Christofer Oberst
SALINAS, CA - The Los Angeles Times published an article on its front page yesterday morning calling attention to the thriving Salinas Valley in spite of the ongoing California drought.
In her article, reporter Rosanna Xia examines this discrepancy and explains that the issue that most Salinas Valley residents face is the lack of knowing how much water is left underground.
To read the full article by Rosanna Xia, please click here.
Rick Antle of Tanimura & Antle briefly discussed his thoughts on the matter, as Xia remarked that the Salinas Valley has been lucky to flourish under such circumstances.
As Xia reveals, the Salinas Valley has remained “an oasis” at a time when California has been experiencing a prevalent drought. This is because farmers have relied on the groundwater that lays hundreds of feet below the dirt, as opposed to the snowmelt from distant reservoirs. The issue, however, is that “no one knows exactly how deep it goes or how much water is left,” Xia writes.
In the article, Antle explains that one of the biggest issues his business faces isn’t a shortage of water, but of workers.
“Everything cycles,” Antle tells the Los Angeles Times. “It’s going to rain this year.”
According to the Los Angeles Times, a county report states that there are approximately 5.3 trillion gallons of water stored underground in one of the state’s most stressed groundwater basins. Each year, 3 to 4 percent of that amount is pumped out. When fresh water is pumped out, Xia explains that Salinas Valley’s porous soil presents the opportunity for more seawater to flow in and contaminate the remaining supply.
“The problem is, where is that breaking point?” Bardin Bengard of Tom Bengard Ranch tells the Los Angeles Times. “Our main water supply is underground. It’s not like you’ve got a reservoir where you can just look at it and go, ‘It’s empty.’”
Fortunately, like many farmers in the Salinas region, the Bengards rely on drip tape which feeds water directly to the roots as opposed to traditional flooding methods.
Officials are looking into a number of methods to help slow the seawater intrusion, including the installation of two inflatable rubber dams to capture more rain during wet months in 2010.
For now, the biggest hope lies with El Niño. Meteorologists are now predicting that there is a greater than 90 percent chance that El Niño will continue through the Northern Hemisphere during the winter, and around an 85 percent chance it will last into the early spring of 2016.
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