Addressing Nitrate in California’s Drinking Water Technical Report 1: Project and Technical Report Outline
Keywords:agricultural drainage, Central Valley, coastal aquifers, drinking water, groundwater contamination, Groundwater Exchange, nitrates, water quality
Agricultural Losses from Salinity in California’s Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta$0.00 Bulk Download
Agricultural Losses from Salinity in California’s Sacramento-San Joaquin DeltaSan Francisco Estuary & Watershed Science (UC Davis) | April 5, 2014...Summary
Sea level rise, large-scale flooding, and new conveyance arrangements for water exports may increase future water salinity for local agricultural production in California’s...
Sea level rise, large-scale flooding, and new conveyance arrangements for water exports may increase future water salinity for local agricultural production in California’s Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta. Increasing salinity in crop root zones often decreases crop yields and crop revenues. Salinity effects are nonlinear and vary with crop choice and other factors including drainage and residence time of irrigation water.
Here, we explore changes in agricultural production in the Delta under various combinations of water management, large-scale flooding, and future sea level rise. Water management alternatives include through-Delta water exports (current conditions), dual conveyance (through-Delta and a 6,700 Mm3 yr?1 [or 7500 cfs] capacity peripheral canal or tunnel) and the flooding of five western islands with and without peripheral exports. We employ results from previous hydrodynamic simulations of likely changes in salinity for irrigation water at points in the Delta. We connect these irrigation water salinity values into a detailed agro-economic model of Delta agriculture to estimate local crop yield and farm revenue losses.
Previous hydrodynamic modeling work shows that sea level rise is likely to increase salinity from 4% to 130% in this century, depending on the increase in sea level and location. Changes in water management under dual conveyance increase salinity mostly in the western Delta, and to a lesser extent in the north, where current salinity levels are now quite low. Because locations likely to experience the largest salinity increases already have a lower-value crop mix, the worst-case losses are less than 1% of total Delta crop revenues. This result also holds for salinity increases from permanent flooding of western islands that serve as a salinity barrier.
Our results suggest that salinity increases could have much smaller economic effects on Delta farming than other likely changes in the Delta such as the retirement of agricultural lands after large-scale flooding and habitat development. Integrating hydrodynamic, water salinity, and economic models can provide insights into controversial management issues.
California Agricultural Production and Irrigated Water Use$0.00 Bulk Download
California Agricultural Production and Irrigated Water UseCongressional Research Service | June 30, 2015...Summary
California ranks as the leading agricultural state in the United States in terms of farm-level sales. In 2012, California’s farm-level sales totaled nearly...
California ranks as the leading agricultural state in the United States in terms of farm-level sales. In 2012, California’s farm-level sales totaled nearly $45 billion and accounted for 11% of total U.S. agricultural sales. Five counties—Tulare, Kern, Fresno, Monterey, and Merced—rank among the leading agricultural counties in the nation.
Given current drought conditions in California, however, there has been much attention on the use of water to grow agricultural crops in the state. Depending on the data source, irrigated agriculture accounts for roughly 40% to 80% of total water supplies. Such discrepancies are largely based on different survey methods and assumptions, including the baseline amount of water estimated for use (e.g., what constitutes “available” supplies).
Two primary data sources are the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the California Department of Water Resources (DWR). USGS estimates water use for agricultural irrigation in California at 25.8 million acre-feet (MAF), accounting for 61% of USGS’s estimates of total withdrawals. DWR estimates water use withdrawals for agricultural irrigation at 33 MAF, or about 41% of total use. Both of these estimates are based on available data for 2010. These estimates differ from other widely cited estimates indicating that agricultural use accounts for 80% of California’s available water supplies, as reported in media and news reports.
Attention has also focused on trends in California toward growing more permanent orchard crops, such as fruit and nut trees and vineyard crops, as well as production of grain and pasture crops, much of which is used to support the state’s meat and dairy industries. Orchard crops refer to tree or vineyard crops that are planted once, require continuous watering to reach maturation, and cannot be fallowed during dry years without loss of investment. In contrast, most vegetables and other row crops (including grain and pasture crops) are annual crops that are sown and harvested during the same production year, sometimes more than once, and may be fallowed in dry years.
Between 2004 and 2013, overall harvested acres in California increased for almonds, walnuts, pistachios, raisins, grapes, berries, cherries, pomegranates, and olives, but also for corn. During the same period, overall harvested acreage decreased for some field crops (cotton, alfalfa, rice, wheat), but also for certain orchard crops (wine grapes and some citrus and tree fruits). This shift to growing more permanent crops, especially tree nuts, appears to be largely market-driven.
The availability of irrigation water has been a major factor in the development of California’s agricultural production. California has the largest number of irrigated farmed acres compared to other states and accounts for about one-fourth of total applied acre-feet of irrigated water in the United States. Water use per acre in California is also high compared to other states. Available data for 2013 indicate that, of total irrigated acres harvested in California, about 31% of irrigated acres were land in orchards and 18% were land in vegetables. Another 46% of irrigated acres harvested were land in alfalfa, hay, pastureland, rice, corn, and cotton.
Congressional interest in California agriculture and water use centers largely on the Bureau of Reclamation’s Central Valley Project (CVP), which supplies water to numerous agricultural and municipal contractors. In recent years, the CVP has cut back water deliveries due to drought and environmental factors. Congress also authorizes and oversees U.S. Department of Agriculture support for individual crops and farmers, and some Members have expressed concern over the broader implications of decreased agricultural production and/or lack of water availability throughout the state.
Healthy, Fair, and Profitable: A Win-Win Pesticide Policy$0.00 Bulk Download
Healthy, Fair, and Profitable: A Win-Win Pesticide PolicyPacific Institute | January 1, 2002...Summary
A new report released by the Pacific Institute and the California Green Scissors project makes the case for changing the way pesticides are regulated in...
A new report released by the Pacific Institute and the California Green Scissors project makes the case for changing the way pesticides are regulated in California. According to the report, if California significantly increased its funding for sustainable agriculture — instead of just spending money to regulate pesticide usage — we could aid California farmers, improve the public health and save millions of dollars in associated costs.
Impacts of the California Drought from 2007 to 2009: Surprising Outcomes for California’s Agriculture, Energy, and Environment$0.00 Bulk Download
Impacts of the California Drought from 2007 to 2009: Surprising Outcomes for California’s Agriculture, Energy, and EnvironmentPacific Institute | June 16, 2011...Summary
California’s three-year drought, which ended with this season’s cool and wet weather, had complicated and serious impacts that have been poorly understood and...
California’s three-year drought, which ended with this season’s cool and wet weather, had complicated and serious impacts that have been poorly understood and reported. Some of the impacts were expected; others were surprising. The Pacific Institute has just completed a nine-month assessment of new data from California’s agricultural, energy, and environmental sectors to evaluate actual consequences of the drought for the state.
Analysis of state and federal data released over the past year finds that contrary to much of the media reporting, California’s agricultural community proved flexible and resilient, generating agricultural revenues in 2007, 2008, and 2009 that were the highest on record. And agriculture-related occupations remained a stable portion of total jobs available in areas directly impacted by water supply restrictions. Less frequently reported were the substantial impacts on energy production and aquatic ecosystems during the drought, which were economically and environmentally significant.
“More severe drought is inevitable, and the U.S. – and California in particular – has not reformed drought monitoring, evaluation, planning, and response strategies the way other countries and regions have,” said Juliet Christian-Smith, senior research associate at the Pacific Institute and lead author of the report. “To become more resilient to future droughts, it will be critical to shift from crisis-driven responses to long-term mitigation strategies.”
The Pacific Institute analysis, Impacts of the California Drought from 2007-2009, focused on three drought-sensitive sectors: agricultural production, energy production, and ecosystem health.