The 2014 drought is responsible for the greatest water loss ever seen in California agriculture — about one third less than normal — according to a new UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences study released today (July 15). See above video clip of lead author Richard Howitt speaking at a press briefing in Washington, D.C.
The economic analysis of the drought's impact on farming also found:
- $2.2 billion in total statewide costs, including loss of 17,100 farm-related jobs
- At least 5 percent of irrigated cropland is going out of production in the Central Valley, Central Coast and Southern California
- Additional groundwater pumping is expected to make up for 5 million acre-feet or 75 percent of the 6.6 million acre-foot reduction in river water supplies to growers
- The drought is likely to continue through 2015, regardless of El Niño conditions
The report’s co-authors are Center senior researcher Josué Medellín-Azuara and Center director Jay Lund; Duncan MacEwan of the ERA Economic consulting firm in Davis; and Dan Sumner, director of the UC Agricultural Issues Center.