Valley Drought 2014: Lake Levels Extremely Low - KMPH FOX 26 | Central San Joaquin Valley News Source

Valley Drought 2014: Lake Levels Extremely Low

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Low lake levels and a hang up with the farm bill are what's happening with the valley drought Tuesday morning.

Just take a look at what's not happening up at Bass Lake.

It's more like a basin these days.

It's just under half full.

PG&E owns Bass Lake, and tells us this is actually normal.

Quick history lesson...

An agreement was signed in the early 1900's between another power provider and farmers.

It requires at least half of the water from the lake be released by November...

It's used for hydropower.  

It later goes to downstream into the San Joaquin Tiver.

Other local lakes look just the same.

Hensley Lake is at just 6% capacity.

Lake Success is at 7%.

Pine Flat is at 18%.

The San Luis Reservoir is at 31%, and Millerton Lake is at 39%.

Farmers were hoping to catch a break with the farm bill that was passed Monday.

They didn't get their way.

Now, the fight for more water continues.

The house and senate did finally reach an agreement with the farm bill.

It includes major reforms like cracking down on food stamp fraud and misuse.

It also includes initiatives to help strengthen the fruit and vegetable industries.

But another part of the farm bill got shut down.

A proposal would've turned on the delta pumps this year as well as next, and ended restoration flows in the San Joaquin River.

That was defeated.

Congressman John Garamendi said, "After W years of negotiations over a farm bill, trying to sneak a water grab into the bill at the last minute was grossly irresponsible. It could have scuttled the legislation."

Garamendi is a farmer and rancher from northern California.

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