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Dry Weather Has California Wineries Starting Irrigation Drips Early

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Water worries are affecting California wineries as a dry forecast has them going to irrigation drips four months early.

Growers are used to getting several inches of rain by January, but a dry winter has them taking important steps to protect their crops.

Irrigation is costly, especially for Ben Drake. The Riverside grape grower attended a special water meeting to discuss water transfers and drought preparedness.

“We purchase water from Metropolitan Water District, which is some of the highest-priced water in the state,” he said.

Water supplies are continuing to be a concern.

“Grapes don’t use a lot of water, but now those stream systems are at an all-time low,” said David Guy with the Northern California Water Association. “I think you have to be very concerned, and I think you have to be praying for rain.”

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