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June 3, 2015

Today’s California Water Digest

A lot happened in the California water world today.  Here’s a brief recap:

Preliminary Report on Drought Impacts

A study prepared for the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA)  and entitled, Preliminary Analysis: 2015 Drought Economic Impact Study,” (UC Davis Center for Watershed Science) was issued today and forecasted that the drought is expected to be worse for California’s agricultural economy this year because of reduced water availability.

According the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s (CDFA) Planting Seeds blog, “The study, summarized below, estimates farmers will have 2.7 million acre-feet less surface water than they would in a normal water year — about a 33 percent loss of water supply, on average. The impacts are concentrated mostly in the San Joaquin Valley and are not evenly distributed; individual farmers will face losses of zero to 100 percent.”  The report also estimates that farmers will fallow roughly 560,000 acres or 6 to 7 percent of California’s average annual irrigated cropland.

LA Times Op-Ed by Secretary Ross

California Secretary of Food and Agriculture Karen Ross teamed with UC Davis economist Daniel Sumner on an op-ed for the LA Times that ran today, entitled, “California Agriculture: It’s Worth the Water.”  The Secretary and Professor Sumner made a very strong case for the need to embrace one of the state’s most critically important industries and the benefits it provides to the California economy, both directly and indirectly.

WG member and Future Volunteer Leader Testifies before Senate Committee

The U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing today to receive testimony on the status of drought conditions throughout the western United States and actions states and others are taking to address them.  Cannon Michael, a Western Growers’ member via his family’s company, Bowles Farming Company and also a Western Growers Future Volunteers Leader class member, testified at the hearing on behalf of the Family Farm Alliance.  Michael’s testimony described the problems western farmers and ranchers face in the current drought; provided an overview of what producers are doing to address the challenges, and; provided policy recommendations for addressing current and future droughts in the western United States.