UC Davis study projects $2.2 billion drought loss

Posted by Mark Grossi on July 15, 2014 

Cracked dry soil at a Terra Bella orange orchard in Tulare County.

MARK CROSSE — Fresno Bee Staff Photo Buy Photo

UC Davis took the bad news about California's drought to Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, revealing the economic impacts on a bigger stage.

The latest loss projection is $2.2 billion.

That number is in a study released Tuesday by two researchers from the University of Caifornia at Davis. They are ag economist Richard Howitt and environmental engineer Jay Lund. 

Howitt said the losses will include 17,000 seasonal and part-time jobs. And it will hit hardest in the San Joaquin Valley.

"These are the people with the least ability to roll with the punches," said Howitt. "It really hurts."

Let's go to some of the other numbers in the study:

-- The Tulare Lake Basin, roughly Fresno County south to Kern County, will be hit the hardest with projected losses of $810 million in crop revenue, $203 million in dairy and livestock value, and $453 million in additional well-pumping costs.

-- More than 80% of the groundwater pumped to replace river water this year will be in the San Joaquin valley.

-- 428,000 acres, or 5%, of irrigated cropland is going out of production in the Central Valley, Central Coast and Southern California.

Researchers added that California needs to begin measuring its groundwater use and managing it.

Read a full report on the UC Davis study by Bee Washington Bureau reporter Michael Doyle


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