Berkeley, Calif., (April 20, 2017) – A new study by Dr. David L. Sunding of U.C. Berkeley confirms the devastation done to all Californians by a broken water-management system ruled by more than 15 federal, state and local agencies.
For more than 20 years of this regulatory quagmire the state has lost an average of 1.3 million acre feet of water per year by flushing it out to the ocean, enough annual supply to sustain more than 10 million Californians or grow over 21 billion salads.
With 55,000 acres of farmland being fallowed each year since 2000, our ability to provide California with food that is healthy, affordable, and available is also shrinking. The new study predicts that without changes to the system, we will see an additional 195,000 acres of land fallowed each year over the next 30 years, which will hit consumers squarely in the pocketbook. In addition, we may have to import more food which not only costs more, it does not carry the same safety standards as food grown here and hurts the environment.
And the negative statewide impacts don’t stop there.
Job losses will continue to mount and could cost the state more than 21,000 jobs every year over the next 30 years. And while 11,000 of those jobs would be farmworkers, the others include food processing jobs, truck drivers, warehouse workers and more.
The broken system has already cost urban communities more than $5 billion. If we continue down this same path, water districts are poised to spend an additional $10.1 billion over the next 30 years just to make up for water cutbacks.
We’re all grateful for this year’s wet winter, but it does not solve our long-term management problems. To do that, we must all work together using sound science and common sense to make smart choices about allocation that benefit all, including farmers, urban consumers and the environment.