Drought adds pressure on Central Valley farmers as other factors cause food prices to rise. Dan Sumner comments on drought and food price

Snowpack statewide is only at 59% of its April 1 average, based on electronic measurements according to the California Department of Water Resources. Farmers in the Central Valley producing water-intensive crops such as almonds and tomatoes are already facing some difficult choices. “It’s really serious, particularly in the Central Valley.”

UC Davis Agricultural Economist Daniel Sumner

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Economic Analysis of the 2016 California Drought for Agriculture

Josué Medellín-Azuara, Duncan MacEwan, Daniel Sumner ,

Richard Howitt,Jay R. Lund.  August 2016

The Economic Analysis of the 2016 California Drought for Agriculture report estimates the impacts of the drought on agriculture.

“California’s agricultural powerhouse and its extensive water supply system have been challenged by recent years of drought. After four years of severely dry conditions, a wetter 2016 winter and spring helped California partially recover surface water storage and increased recharge to some aquifers. Nevertheless, statewide storage in reservoirs remains below historical average and groundwater remains in substantial overdraft in many areas.”

Read the full report here.

Updated UC Davis report on drought impacts to agriculture

Imperialvalleynews.com, August 15 2016

The drought continues for California’s agriculture in 2016, but with much less severe and widespread impacts than in the two previous drought years, 2014 and 2015.  Winter and spring were wetter in the Sacramento Valley, to the extent of several reservoirs being required to spill water for flood control, but south of the Delta was unusually dry.  The much-heralded El Nino brought largely average precipitation north of the Delta, replenishing some groundwater, and drier than average conditions to the southern Central Valley and southern California.

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Additional media coverage of this topic

Which California Foods You Consume Makes Little Impact on Drought-Relevant Water Usage

Nina M. Anderson and Daniel A. Sumner
ARE Update, February 2016

To be relevant to California’s drought, discussions of water used to produce food items should focus on the irrigation water relevant to production in California. By that measure, drought-relevant water used to produce livestock products such as beef and milk is moderate compared to crop products such as wine and broccoli.

Click here for paper: https://s.giannini.ucop.edu/uploads/giannini_public/f3/91/f39155ce-574f-43f8-9a23-6068128e4180/v19n3_2.pdf
Click here for methodology explanation and calculations:https://cail.ucdavis.edu/water-in-food_background/Drought Water Article Methodology.docx
Click here for data: https://cail.ucdavis.edu/water-in-food_background/Drought Water Article Data.xlsx

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