Rancher reacts to possible groundwater regulation

Aug 28, 2014 7:57 PM

Water wells can easily be spotted on properties here in the North State. Gabriel Niehues and his family have owned this ranch outside of Willows for generations.

"Almost 100 years." says Gabriel Niehues.

Their ranch has three wells. His family is getting ready to plant almond trees, he says they depend on groundwater.

"These wells, we have never had a problem with them." he added. "I have heard of other peoples wells going dry."

Ground water regulation is a hot topic.

"Its been talked about. I don't know how it would work, I would imagine some new jobs would open up and some new guys coming around asking questions."

He says he agrees with state lawmakers, with the drought everyone across the state should do their part to conserve water.

"I think it has to be somewhat regulated to maintain the level of underground aquifer."

Niehues thinks regulating people on how much water they can take will cause more than a few arguments.

"It is your ground and as long as you are not sucking other peoples wells dry you should be able to take as much water as you need to for your crops because that is how everyone around here makes their money."

He says ranches and families live on survive off ground water. As the bill goes through the process in Sacramento, Niehues says his family will continue to ranch with their water.

"There will probably be a lot of arguments. It will be interesting to see what the state does." says Niehues.


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