North State farmers drilling more wells

Mar 4, 2014 6:49 PM

Usually this time of year, Steve Gwathney is hurting for business.

But this year, his pumping business is booming. In fact, this past February was the busiest month he's ever had.

“I worked seven days a week for the last two months,” said Gwanthney, owner of G&S Pump Service. “It’s just part of the job.

Gwathney's increase in business is linked to this year's record-setting drought. Many farmers no longer have access to district water so they're taking matters into their hands and are now drilling for it. But not everyone’s been proactive and materials are running out. Some farmers could find themselves in a lot of trouble.

“The products are normally a week out now they're two to three to four weeks out,” Gwanthney said. “We’re just hoping to get some of the products.”

Steve Masonek, owner of Cana Ranch, paid about $15,000 for his pump and irrigation system to be installed. And Gwathney says he should make that money up later back by saving this year's crop.

“A lot of crops in the Central Valley and the Westside are going to be lost this year. So they may get a big price for their crop.”

Masonek has owned his ranch since 1979. He uses about 2 million gallons of water a week in the summer for his crops. And he says water is his life blood and it’s something he won’t give up without a fight.

“The old saying is just as true today as it was when Mark Twain said it,” Masonek said. “’Whiskey’s for drinking; water’s for fighting.”

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