Water shortages this year in California's San Joaquin valley will cost 75,000 jobs and $2-billion in revenues. From McClatchey Newspapers:
“It is ugly,” said Mark Borba, a longtime west Fresno County farmer. “There are growers out there who have no water or who are drilling wells in hopes of getting them operating in time and still others are bulldozing their almond trees.”
Three consecutive dry winters and reduced water pumping to protect dwindling fish in Northern California rivers helped create the dismal forecast. West siders get water from northern rivers through canals belonging to the federally operated Central Valley Project.
While the news was expected, it hit farmers in the Westlands Water District, the largest affected district, especially hard. Growers in that region expect to fallow more than half of the 600,000 acres in the district, forcing thousands of people out of work and triggering an economic ripple effect that could extend beyond a farmer’s fields.
Tom Birmingham, general manager of the Westlands district, said in a news release that "there is no question that many years worth of investments will be lost."
California's water crisis is dire, and it's bad news for the rest of the US and Canada also. California produces about two-thirds of America's vegetables and half of its supply of fruit and nuts. The San Joaquin valley disaster reflects a critical problem that's being felt in other agricultural zones in California.