Water-Musings: Impacts of Water Cuts to California

Interestingly, decades of environmental policy and regulatory development have occurred in California with little institutional assessment of impacts to communities, job losses, or localized economies. This is especially true where water policy and regulation has been adopted. However, it is naive to think that water supply can be continuously curtailed, and production and regulatory costs constantly increased, without incurring consequences.

This article discusses a 2017 report released by the Southern California Water Committee and the Committee for Delta Reliability. “U.S. Berkeley Professor and Department of Agricultural & Resources Chair, David L. Sunding, studied the impacts of state water cuts since 2000 and projects impacts over the next 30 years.

  • California is losing 1.3 million acre-feet of water each year.
  • Agriculture will lose as much as 21,000 jobs/year over the next 30 years.
  • Farmworkers have already lost $900 million in wages since 2000.
  • Farmworkers could lose as a potential of $4 billion in wages over the next 30 years.
  • 55,000 acres of farmland have been fallowed each year since 2000.
  • Possibly, 195,000 acres of farmland/year willl be fallowed over the next 30 years.
  • Urban communities have lost $5 billion since 2000 from water restrictions.
  • Urban communities may lost $10 billion in the future as they make up for water supply curtailments.

Article: New Report Shows Thousands of California Jobs Lost Due to Water Cuts. 23ABC News. (April 2017): https://www.turnto23.com/news/local-news/new-report-shows-thousands-of-california-jobs-lost-due-to-water-cuts

Report: Sunding, David. The Human Impact of California’s Water Cuts. SCWC. (April, 2017): https://www.socalwater.org/news/1692/just-released-the-human-impact-of-californias-water-cuts