The University of California, Davis released a report, The Economic Analysis of the 2014 Drought for California Agriculture, which found the total statewide economic cost of the 2014 drought is $2.2 billion and a loss of about 17,000 seasonal and part-time jobs.
According to the report, approximately 60 percent of the plowed but unused farmland and 70 percent of the statewide crop revenue and airy revenue loses statewide are likely to occur in the San Joaquin Valley.
U.S. Representative Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) said the information is no surprise to him.
“The Central Valley is bearing the brunt of the drought,” said Denham. “We must change the regulations coming from Sacramento and Washington bureaucrats that worsen the effects of this devastating drought on our agricultural community. It’s crucial that we come together with immediate, lasting solutions for increased storage and increased water supplies to see a permanent solution for our Valley farmers signed into law this year.”
The report suggests public policy places emphasis on protecting groundwater.
“The effects of such a severe drought on California’s large agricultural economy would be much greater without two resources: 1) extensive groundwater availability and 2) the availability of water markets to re-distribute water to crops with the highest economic value while compensating selling farmers,” the report reads. “The safeguarding and development of these two resources are essential for mitigating economic effects of the drought continuing, as well as future droughts.”
The UC Davis report was funded by the California Department of Food and Agriculture with assistance from the California Department of Water Resources.