Environment & Science

California citrus growers see recent storms as a mixed blessing

File: A woman and child at California Citrus State Historic Park.
File: A woman and child at California Citrus State Historic Park.
Ian D. Keating/Flickr Creative Commons

Water-starved trees have largely benefited from Southern California's recent storms, though state infrastructure has taken a hit — the repair bill after the stormy weather could hit $600 million, which is more than double what the state has budgeted for rainy day emergencies, Gov. Jerry Brown said on Friday.

“Most cases [the rain] has come slow, and we’ve had a few clear days in between that’s allowed the water to soak in, so we’re pretty well saturated now,” California Citrus Mutual Vice President Bob Blakely told KPCC. 

But some spots are starting to get too saturated.

“We’ve seen our reservoirs fill back up — some cases they’re having to release water in anticipation of flood control, which is unfortunate, because that’s water [that] if we had more storage we’d be able to hang onto," he said. 

More than 25,000 acres of citrus trees have had to be removed since the start of the drought — and it’d take years of wet weather to replace it all, Blakely said.