In October, California’s agriculture commissioner, Gavin Newsom, declared the state in an “emergency” status and ordered the state’s farmers to start paying for their water, or face fines.
“Farmers are facing a financial crisis,” Newsom said at the time.
“And if they don’t start paying now, they are going to be in a position where they can’t get the money they need to pay bills and pay the rent.”
But the crisis is not confined to California.
Farmers are also facing severe drought in other parts of the country.
In December, a new study from the University of California, Davis, found that some farmers in parts of Florida and Texas are paying as little as $0.50 per acre for their irrigation water, according to the Center for Food Safety, an advocacy group.
As a result, many are struggling to pay the bills.
“The drought has forced many of these farmers to turn to less sustainable sources of water for irrigation, like solar and wind power,” a spokesperson for the Center told The Washington Post.
“With the potential for the next drought, farmers are turning to water that is far more expensive than it used to be, as the drought has hit water systems hard.”
Farmers in Arizona, Texas, and Oklahoma have also begun to pay their bills.
In Arizona, the state is planning to install a “farm-to-grid” system that will allow farmers to charge their customers for their own water, as well as for electricity and other services.
The system is expected to be operational by the end of next year, and the Arizona Department of Water Resources estimates it will save farmers up to $2,400 per year in water usage.
The farm-to -grid system, known as the Phoenix Project, will also offer water to consumers in Arizona as well, the Arizona Public Service Company told the AP.
“We are excited to be partnering with the Arizona Water Authority to bring this system to Arizona farmers, who will be able to access the most affordable and reliable water in the state,” Arizona Secretary of Agriculture Dave Reichert told the Associated Press.
Farmers in Arkansas, Georgia, and Louisiana have also taken steps to address the drought.
“These efforts will help ensure farmers have access to the most reliable water possible and allow them to meet their water needs while continuing to operate their businesses,” the Arkansas Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said in a statement.
“For the last three years, we have been working to provide a stable, affordable source of water to farmers and ranchers across Arkansas.”
Georgia has also begun offering customers in Georgia a “pay for water” option, the Associated Statesman reported.
“Georgia’s ‘pay for hydropower’ program, which provides low-cost water to those who can’t afford to pay for water, has been a success, providing up to 1,100 households with a free water account,” the Georgia Department of Environmental Management said in an announcement.
“This program also provides water to thousands of customers who are paying for water with household bills and are struggling for money to meet water bills,” the department added.
In Texas, the Texas Farm Bureau estimates that farmers are paying about $1.5 million a month to pay water bills.
But the drought in Texas, which began in June, has made it difficult for many farmers to pay.
The Associated Press reported that in recent weeks, a group of farmers and other officials in Texas has been “calling farmers and offering them money for water.”
“We have seen the drought impact our economy,” the Texas Department of Farm and Rural Affairs told the Texas Tribune.
“When you have that much water to irrigate your crop, you can’t just rely on the price of water, and we’ve seen that in the last week.”
Farmers are struggling with the drought even more than they did last year, as climate change is leading to higher temperatures and higher rainfall.
The AP reported that “in the last two months, the drought and warmer weather have led to higher water and crop costs in Texas,” and that farmers “have struggled to pay to water their crops because they have been able to buy and sell water for more than a month.”
A spokesperson for Gov.
Greg Abbott (R) told the newspaper that “this year, we are seeing more drought and higher water costs, but our farmers are making the best of it.”