According to reports, farmers use 80 percent of the water in California.
“We’re going to have to make some changes around here,” said Jerome Stehly with Stehly Farms.
Stehly, who has been growing avocados for years, says it typically takes 450 gallons of water per tree, per week for irrigate during the summer months.
Now he, along with many local farmers, will no longer have that luxury.
“Our wells are starting to deplete earlier than they ever have,” said Stehly. “We usually start to see a slowdown in the amount of water we can pump out of them in September and we are seeing it now in May.”
To cut back, Stehly is cutting down hundreds of avocado trees down to four-foot stumps.
The stumps don’t produce fruit but can survive for one year with little to no water.
“We will also keep our trees smaller so they use less water.”
With the high cost of water and almost no rain, Stehly is forced to also cut back on his staff.
“As the metropolitan water district charges more, the price is carried down to us.”
He said we may also see additional avocado farmers across the region produce much less product. As a result, consumers would have to rely on foreign imports which won't be as fresh or as cheap.
“This is what farmers do, we adapt,” said Stehly.
So far, he’s stumped 200 of his trees and plans to stump 400 more by the end of the year to meet the mandatory cutbacks.