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Drought Could Cost California Agriculture Industry $1.7 Billion

May 19, 2014

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Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

A new study shows that California’s drought could result in severe economic losses for Central Valley farmers. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, the analysis also shows the drought will mean thousands of job losses.

The UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences conducted the study for the California Department of Food and Agriculture. It shows that Central Valley farmers could fallow more than 400,000  acres of land, costing the agriculture industry one-point-seven billion dollars and resulting in more than 14,000 lost jobs. Growers will face a 32 percent loss in surface water deliveries, much of it will be replaced with groundwater.

California Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross:

Ross: “We will get through this year but if this is a long-term drought it will become more and more difficult and much more costly to be able to survive with groundwater, almost a half billion dollars will be spent to pump groundwater to save our permanent crops.”

The study shows the current drought will not threaten California’s overall economy.  Agriculture accounts for less than three percent of the state’s yearly gross domestic product.