Saturday, January 18, 2014

More on the California Drought and Agriculture

One of the culprits has been a stubbornly persistent ridge of high pressure over the West Coast, which has diverted storms to the Pacific Northwest. Wildfires, usually unheard of at this time of year, have been breaking out, including a 125-acre blaze being battled this week near Los Angeles. The state's snowpack level, an indicator of future runoff to rivers and lakes, is at a paltry 17% of normal.
The economic fallout is beginning to spread. The U.S. Agriculture Department on Wednesday declared parts of 11 mostly Western states to be natural-disaster areas, making farmers in places including California, Arizona and Nevada eligible for low-interest assistance loans.
In California, with its huge economy, the financial impacts are likely to ripple beyond the farmers. Growers in the Central Valley's Westlands Water District, for instance, are expected to fallow 200,000 of their 600,000 acres this year, resulting in job losses in surrounding communities, according to a statement by the agency. Other businesses that stand to suffer include landscapers, nurseries and orchards.

Wow, 1/3 of the acres in that water district left fallow? That is stunning.

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