Agricultural Irrigation in This Drought: Where Is the Water and Where Is It Going?

Josué Medellín-Azuara, Duncan MacEwan, Jay R. Lund, Richard E. Howitt, and Daniel A. Sumner

from ARE Update Vol. 18, No. 5, May/Jun, 2015 Special Issue: The Economics of the Drought for California Food and Agriculture

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Abstract

In the midst of its fourth year of drought, California now faces an estimated reduction in surface-water availability of 8.8 million acre-feet (maf) out of 29 maf in agricultural applied water statewide. However, groundwater, the buffer water supply during drought, is replacing about 6.2 maf of surface water via additional pumping. This increased groundwater pumping is in addition to the 1.5 maf of annual average groundwater overdraft in the Central Valley. The net reduction of 2.6 maf in the total supply in 2015 may result in about 564,000 acres fallowed statewide, or about 120,000 more acres than last year's fallowing estimates.

Keywords

water supply management, 2015 drought, groundwater overdraft, fallowing, agricultural water use

Citation

Josué Medellín-Azuara, Duncan MacEwan, Jay R. Lund, Richard E. Howitt, and Daniel A. Sumner. "Agricultural Irrigation in This Drought: Where Is the Water and Where Is It Going?" ARE Update 18(5)(2015):6-8. University of California Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics.
https://giannini.ucop.edu/publications/are-update/issues/2015/18/5/agricultural-irrigation-i/