Keywords:Central Valley, Groundwater Exchange, groundwater pumping impacts, Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP), Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA)
This resource management strategy focuses primarily on private land in agriculture including cultivated land and rangeland. Agricultural land in California comprises about 31.6...
This resource management strategy focuses primarily on private land in agriculture including cultivated land and rangeland. Agricultural land in California comprises about 31.6 million acres (California Department of Conservation, Division of Land Resource Protection, Farmland Mapping and Monitoring Program 2008). About 12.4 million of these acres are cultivated, while the remaining 19.2 million acres are rangeland (California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection 2010).
Agricultural systems in California are varied in the way resources are used, ranging from intensive conventional agriculture (irrigated crop cultivation) to more extensive systems such as livestock grazing, each with a different relationship to natural resources. They also affect and are affected by surface hydrology and groundwater recharge in different ways. Stewardship of this land requires constant balancing among natural constraints, market forces, and ever-changing social expectations. Institutions and policies have been developed in response to these challenges. Public investment in water infrastructure (reservoirs, canals, drains, levees, dykes) has been in the forefront of these.
This resource management strategy report focuses on agricultural land stewardship (ALS) strategies that can be incorporated into relevant adaptive management of agricultural land at different levels, including landscape, regional and project.
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.
CRS was requested to undertake a study of the San Joaquin Valley (SJV) and a comparison with another U.S. region. The eight-county San...
CRS was requested to undertake a study of the San Joaquin Valley (SJV) and a comparison with another U.S. region. The eight-county San Joaquin Valley, part of California’s Central Valley, is home to 5 of the 10 most agriculturally productive counties in the United States. By a wide range of indicators, the SJV is also one of the most economically depressed regions of the United States.
This report analyzes the SJV’s counties and statistically documents the basis of current socioeconomic conditions. The report further explores the extent to which the SJV shares similarities with and differs from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) area and a 68-county Central Appalachian subregion which contains some of the most economically distressed counties in Appalachia. The report also examines the role of federal expenditures in the cities and counties of the SJV.
During the past twenty-five years, population growth rates in the SJV were significantly higher than for California or the United States and their projected growth rates over the next 20 years are also significantly higher. In 2000, the SJV also had substantially higher rates of poverty than California or the United States.
Poverty rates were also significantly higher in the SJV than in the ARC region, although the rate is somewhat lower than that of the Central Appalachian subregion. Unemployment rates in the SJV were higher than in California or the United States and the ARC area. Per capita income and average family income were higher in the SJV than in Central Appalachia, but per capita income in the SJV was lower than in the ARC region as a whole. SJV households also had higher rates of public assistance income than did Central Appalachian households. Madera County ranked among the 10 lowest per capita income Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) in the United States in 2003, and the other 5 MSAs in the San Joaquin were all in the bottom 20% of all U.S. MSAs. Other indicators of social well-being discussed in the report showed that the SJV is a region of significant economic distress.
California farmers have made progress in updating and modernizing irrigation practices, but despite past efforts, great untapped potential remains to use water more...
California farmers have made progress in updating and modernizing irrigation practices, but despite past efforts, great untapped potential remains to use water more efficiently. Water efficiency – defined as measures that reduce water use while maintaining the benefits water provides – has been shown to be a cost-effective and flexible tool to adapt to drought as well as to address longstanding water challenges in California. Moreover, today’s investments in efficiency will provide a competitive advantage in the future and ensure the ongoing strength of the agriculture sector in California.
Water-efficiency strategies provide important benefits to farmers, ecosystems, and society. Some of the water saved represents new supply that can be dedicated to other uses. But there are also compelling reasons to seek reductions in total water withdrawals, e.g., allowing farmers to maintain and even improve crop yields and quality; protecting water quality; reducing fertilizer, water, and energy costs; and boosting profits. The multiple benefits associated with reducing both consumptive and non-consumptive water uses argues for a comprehensive approach for promoting water-efficiency improvements that allows us to address complex and interrelated water management challenges in California, including water-supply reliability, conflicts among water users, the risks of droughts, worsening water quality, and ecological degradation. This fact sheet and infographic, The Multiple Benefits of Water Efficiency for California Agriculture, describe some of these important benefits.