Tuesday, October 21, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

California drought idles huge swaths of farmland

By
From page A1 | July 16, 2014 |

FRESNO — Hundreds of thousands of acres of rich California farmland has gone unplanted this year because of drought, and researchers said Tuesday that next year could be even worse, with some farmers possibly losing their last source of water as wells run dry.

The University of California, Davis, Center for Watershed Sciences released a study finding that farmers struggling with drought left nearly 430,000 acres unplanted this year, costing the California economy $2.2 billion and 17,000 jobs.

Researchers say chances are high for yet another dry year in 2015, which would force farmers to rely even more heavily on groundwater for irrigation.

“It’s tougher than we thought,” Richard Howitt, a University of California, Davis professor emeritus of agriculture and resource economics.

The study used computer modeling, NASA satellite data and estimates provided by state and federal water agencies to examine the impact on California under continued dry conditions. The research was presented at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

California, which leads the nation in production of more than a dozen crops with a $44.7 billion agriculture industry, is now in its third dry year. The drought has hit the Central Valley the hardest.

The drought has not driven up food prices because crops such as corn and grain can be grown in other areas of the country, and farmers in California can use their more expensive water on specialty crops such as almonds that already fetch a high price from consumers, Howitt said.

To nourish those crops, farmers have been pumping more groundwater as the mountain snowpack sends less water to state reservoirs and canals. Howitt urged farmers to take the lead in managing their scarce groundwater.

The groundwater is not being replenished, and Howitt said continuing pumping will cause up to 10 percent of wells in the southern Central Valley to dry up.

“My message to farmers is treat groundwater like you treat your retirement account,” Howitt said in an interview. “Know how much water’s in it and how fast it’s being used.”

California is the only western state that doesn’t measure groundwater use, and Howitt said demanding more of wells is a short-term solution with long-term costs.

“It’s very simple economics, but it’s such an emotional topic,” said Howitt. “Farmers have to sit down and ask themselves… do they want their children and grandchildren to be farming?”

The California Department of Food and Agriculture requested the research.

Karen Ross, the department’s secretary, said she recognizes the critical state of California’s groundwater and the need for local officials to manage it. If that does not happen, Ross said the state will intervene.

Millions of Californians depend on ground supplies for drinking water, she said, adding that farmers have a large role to play.

“It’s not if there will be future droughts,” Ross said in an interview. “There will be future droughts, and we need to take our lessons and prepare ourselves as much as possible.”

Jay Lund, director of the Center for Watershed Sciences, said he doesn’t anticipate a rainy El Niño next year to rescue California. As a result, the state needs to implement a variety of measures, such as conservation and managing groundwater and reservoirs, he said.

Paul Wenger, president of the California Farm Bureau, said losses attributed to the drought could have been avoided if state leaders had added more reservoirs rather than focusing on conservation for decades.

He also said the Farm Bureau has long supported groundwater management at a local level.

“Statewide regulation certainly won’t fix our groundwater needs, just as it has failed to provide solutions to surface water needs,” he said.

 

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 1 comment

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Crime key topic again at Fairfield candidates night

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1, 33 Comments | Gallery

 
 
Dixon corn maze breaks own world record

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A2, 1 Comment | Gallery

PAL center seeks volunteers

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
.

US / World

Police say they might have spotted ambush suspect

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Fashion designer Oscar de la Renta dies at 82

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Yosemite proposes raising entrance, camping fees

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2, 3 Comments

 
CDC releases revised Ebola gear guidelines

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Clinton: Midterm elections should motivate women

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2, 6 Comments | Gallery

 
Surfer fends off shark attack with fist, board

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

WWII airman to be buried in Oakland

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2, 1 Comment

 
Brown: California needs long-term vision on water

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2, 4 Comments

Colorado proposes edible pot ban, then retreats

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2, 2 Comments

 
Submarine hunt sends Cold War chill across Baltic

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Oscar Pistorius to finally learn his sentence

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Youths, tech workers duel over San Francisco field

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Suspect in Va. abduction charged in DC area rape

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Warming Earth heading for hottest year on record

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2, 4 Comments

Lacking a plan, Abbas opts for rhetoric

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Police: Indiana suspect hints at more killings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Turkey says it helps Kurdish fighters enter Syria

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Nigeria declared Ebola-free; ‘spectacular success’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Urgent-care clinics ill-equipped to treat Ebola

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
British royal couples’ 2nd child due in April

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
.

Opinion

Spering kept youth league going

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 10 Comments

 
Day, Blankenchip good for respective cities

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 2 Comments

‘Misleading’ mailer sent to residents

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 1 Comment

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: Oct. 21, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page:

 
.

Entertainment

Yearwood, Santana to perform at World Series

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Standing ovation at Met Opera despite protest

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6 | Gallery

Still the Same: Bob Seger launching tour, album

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6 | Gallery

 
San Francisco radio stations ban hit song ‘Royals’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Pitbull to host American Music Awards on Nov. 23

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ actor arrested in Idaho

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

NBC’s Snyderman faces credibility issues

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6 | Gallery

 
Not so fast cordcutters – cable’s not going anywhere

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5 | Gallery

TVGrid Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

 
.

Sports

Local Report: Armijo boys soccer team falls to Vintage

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

 
Steelers rally past stunned Texans 30-23

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Bumgarner against Shields in World Series opener

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Raiders plagued by 3rd-down defensive woes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Champion drag racer Raymond Beadle dies at 70

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Stiviano lawsuit against Shelly Sterling dismissed

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

With TD mark in bag, Manning can set more records

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
49ers lose center Daniel Kilgore, needs surgery

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Giants-Royals: A capsule look at World Series

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Belichick, Brady praise Manning on TD record

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Penn State board to meet on disputed Freeh Report

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
McIlroy to skip 2 events to focus on lawsuit

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Column: Keselowski marches to his own beat

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Wanted: Cities interested in hosting 2024 Olympics

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Giants rely on core of 4 relievers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Royals, fans bond over improbable postseason run

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Voynov suspended on domestic violence suspicion

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
.

Business

Facebook sues law firms, claims fraud

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Apple reports record 39.3 million iPhone sales

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5, 1 Comment

US regulator: Fannie, Freddie in deal with banks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Sears plans to raise more cash via rights offering

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

Survey: Pay raises rarer despite strong US hiring

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5 | Gallery

 
US agency warns car owners to get air bags fixed

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Pickles Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Bridge Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Sudoku Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Baby Blues Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Sally Forth Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Wizard of Id Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Dilbert Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
B.C. Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Crossword Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Frank and Ernest Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Blondie Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Word Sleuth Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Garfield Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Get Fuzzy Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Baldo Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Rose is Rose Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

For Better or Worse Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Zits Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Peanuts Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Cryptoquote Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Beetle Bailey Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6