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With the drought impacting Arizona, local farmers are doing their part to save water

Farmers speak about the impact water cuts could have in the Desert Southwest

YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - The drought in the west has caused the fate of the Colorado River to be unknown.

The result? The nation's food supply is at risk.

To alleviate this problem, local farmers are doing their part to protect and enforce the use of water in the Yuma growing region.

Mark Stover, Tanimura and Antle Yuma and Imperial Ag Director says water is extremely important in the Desert Southwest, especially November through April.

"90% of lettuce and other commodities for U.S. and Canada come right here out of the Yuma growing region," says Stover.

To stay alive, Yuma farmers are conserving water in unique ways to help.

Tanimura and Antle farms start with GPS leveling the ground.

"Only the amount of water that is needed is put on to the field. It's measured going on. It's only every gallon that is applied is measured and we even measure the runoff that comes off and goes back into the Colorado River, so it's a very efficient procedure," explains Stover.

Stover says Yuma is 75% more efficient than the rest of the Colorado River basin due to these techniques.

But if water cuts end up coming to Yuma, farmers say it will impact food prices nationwide.

"It would be more expensive food and food safety health would be reduced," says Stover.

A collaboration of local farm organizations including, Yuma County Agricultural Water Coalition, Yuma Fresh Vegetable Association and Yuma Center of Excellence for Desert Agriculture (YCEDA) made a short film called "Yuma The Winter Salad Bowl" to spread awareness.

"There's a strong desire to protect and enforce the use of the water in the Yuma growing region," says Stover.

According to Stover, seven million pounds a day and one billion pounds a month is produced in Yuma.

In the film, Robbie Woodhouse, Casa De Lena Farms, LLC owners says, "The fight that we're fighting today to maintain our water is probably the most important fight we've ever fought."

Yuma farmers are feeding more people with less resources and are continually looking for ways to improve.

Article Topic Follows: Home Grown

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Vanessa Gongora

Vanessa Gongora joined the KYMA team in 2022 and is the anchor/producer for CBS at 4 p.m.

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Laura Aronson

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