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Projected Water Shortages Threaten San Diego Nursery Industry

San Diego County farmers are worried water shortages will hurt the $1 billion nursery industry. That's because water exports from the Sacramento River Delta could be cut up to 40 percent next year. Th

Projected Water Shortages Threaten San Diego Nursery Industry

San Diego County farmers are worried water shortages will hurt the $1 billion nursery industry. That's because water exports from the Sacramento River Delta could be cut up to 40 percent next year. The cutbacks are part of a proposal to protect endangered fish. KPBS reporter Ed Joyce has details.

The Delta supplies water to more than two-thirds of the state's population, including San Diego. San Diego County relies on imported water for roughly 90 percent of its drinking and agricultural supplies.

San Diego County Farm Bureau Executive Director Eric Larson says local growers already are planning for less water next year because of dry conditions. He says more cutbacks means tough choices.

Larson : So growers will have to make a decision to discontinue watering a certain number of trees or planting smaller crops. And so we're worried that some of that could actually result in permanent loss of AG land in San Diego County.

A judge will decide next month on how best to protect the Delta smelt. It's expected that plan will include some interruption in water supplies, from six to 40 percent.

Ed Joyce, KPBS News.