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San Diego County Growers May Face Mandatory Water Cuts Next Year

San Diego County growers may face mandatory cuts in water supplies next year. Those cuts could last several years. KPBS Environmental Reporter Ed Joyce tells us the water shortage could reduce farmlan

San Diego County growers may face mandatory cuts in water supplies next year. Those cuts could last several years. KPBS Environmental Reporter Ed Joyce tells us the water shortage could reduce farmland in the county.

Many San Diego County avocado and citrus farmers get a price break on water from the region's main supplier -- the Metropolitan Water District. In exchange for cheaper water those growers are first in line for mandatory cutbacks. The water district has told farmers to expect a 30 percent cut in water supplies next year.

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<b> Eric Larson </b> : Less water means less production.

That's County Farm Bureau Executive Director Eric Larson. He says historic dry conditions and water shortages will hurt farmers in the pocketbook. And Larson says it could mean less open space.

<b> Larson </b> : Farmland's a good hedge against urban expansion. So there is an economic loss. That really isn't something that's going to affect members of the public. What's really going to affect them is if these water cuts end up in a permanent loss of some farmland because farmers decide they can't maintain that portion of the farm. That's the loss that the entire community will feel.

He says farmers are making plans now to deal with less water next year.

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Ed Joyce, KPBS News.