Web Exclusive: Drought causing pistachio problem

CALIFORNIA (CBS) - We may not have seen the worst yet when it comes to the drought. A California pistachio producer is speaking out, saying it's not just his crops in jeopardy. Farmers are forced to pay five times more for water and that cost could be passed down to you.

"We have a serious problem." says Thom Dille, CEO of Fiddyment Farms Pistachios.

He's worried about the state's water woes.  

"I don't have a crystal ball but i think this will be the worst year we've seen."

The Placer County pistachio company produces two million pounds of nuts a year. And while you're just hearing about the drought now, he says farmers have been dealing with water problems for the past three years.
"We've had reduced water availability from our water supplier district."
This year, he says it's cut back even more. And, it's costing a lot more money."
"It's created a marketplace where farmers need to go out and buy additional water. I'm paying five times the normal price for water."
And, so far, Dille says they aren't passing down the cost to consumers, but eventually may have to.
"If this continues into next year who knows if there's going to be any more water availability if it is there at all the price will probably be higher."
And, it's not just pistachios. Dille says other California crops are going to suffer as well.
"If you drive down I-5, you'll see they're pulling almond trees out citrus trees out in the valley today."
Their only hope is that the anticipated El Nino brings much needed rain this winter.
 "We really need snow pack snow is the salvation for everybody in California." 
 Dille says the shortage of water storage is the main issue farmers want addressed so next time the state is better prepared to handle a drought.


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