BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) -- Above-normal temperatures and low rainfall in 2013 left Bakersfield with the ninth driest calendar year on record, creating a problem for farmers as 2014 begins with another drought in the forecast.
Local grower Fred Starrh farms over 4-thousand acres of pistachios and cotton in Shafter.
Frustrated by the fears of devastation a dry year may have had on his crops, Starrh is forced to face a harsh reality: 2013 brought only about half of its expected rainfall, pushing 2014 into a third consecutive year of a drought.
"You’re really just at the mercy of nature at this point,” Starhh said. "When you don't get the rain and snow up in the hills, then we won’t have water later in the summer … For us, it's the life-blood of the whole industry … It's just a dead-end street almost at this point, unless mother nature comes through."
Miles Muzio, Eyewitness News meteorologist, said when it comes to rain, mother nature won't be on our side.
"We’re in a drought right now and the drought has gotten quite a bit worse,” Muzio said, adding that there is some good news in the future.
Rainfall records going back 125 years show these periods of dryness last on average around three years. 2014 forecast looks dry, and will be the third year of the current drought.
"We are probably going to see some rain, but it's not going to be nearly enough. Next year, January to March 2015, we'll probably see more rain,” Muzio said.
Kern County received a meager 3.43 inches of rain in 2013, and with one more year of drought in the forecast, farmers around the county will have to hold onto the hopes of 2015, as water allotments grow more and more sparse.
"They only have a very small percentage of their water allotment, 10 percent or even less potentially," Muzio said. "This is their livelihood. They need this water to irrigate their crops and we have so much agriculture here."
Starhh said he is frustrated with the lack of resources.
"You're trying to buy additional water to help and you're having to pay for the water you don't get. So, it's just sort of a catch-22 when you look at the issues,” Starrh said.