California agriculture is showing losses of $1 billion in revenue plus another half-billion dollars in added pumping costs, all courtesy of the drought.
At least 17,000 seasonal and part-time jobs have been lost in the state – also due to drought, according to a study by the University of California (UC) Davis Center for Watershed Sciences.
“The study found that the drought – the third most severe on record – is responsible for the greatest water loss ever seen in California agriculture, with river water for Central Valley farms reduced by roughly one-third,” according to a press release from UC Davis.
“Groundwater pumping is expected to replace most river water losses, with some areas more than doubling their pumping rate over the previous year. More than 80% of this replacement pumping occurs in the San Joaquin Valley and Tulare Basin,” the release adds.
At least 5%, or 428,000 acres of irrigated cropland, will go out of production in the Central Valley, Central Coast and Southern California because of the drought.
Other findings include:
- Central Valley, particularly the Tulare Basin, is hardest hit, with projected losses of $810 million, or 2.3%, in crop revenue; $203 million in dairy and livestock value; and $453 million in additional well-pumping costs.
- Central Coast and Southern California agriculture are less affected, with about 19,150 acres fallowed. Lost crop revenue equaled $10 million and additional pumping cost $6.3 million.
- Groundwater overdrafts are expected to cause additional wells in the Tulare Basin to run dry if the drought continues.
- The drought is likely to continue through 2015, regardless of El Niño conditions.