The lack of available water supplies could increase the amount of agricultural land fallowing than previously estimated. Mike Wade, Executive Director of the California Farm Water Coalition, said that more is needed to ensure ample water availability moving forward. The state is looking at a significant economic impact due to dismal water supplies, which could have even further repercussions.
“We are looking at another dry year for California, and we’re coming off of a previous somewhat dry year. So, the water storage in our reservoirs was very low at the beginning of this year,” said Wade. “We’re potentially looking at record fallowing numbers, anywhere, in our estimate, from 594,000 to perhaps 691,000 acres of farmland that’s not going to be growing any food in 2022.”
The impact of dry conditions and the subsequent land fallowing will also take a hefty toll on the economy. Wade said that the drop in production will have a significant impact on job losses. As many as 25,000 jobs could be lost as a result of the increased land fallowing due to the reduction of available water. Overall, California could be looking at a decline in economic activity of approximately $3.5 billion.
Drought conditions causing a drop in acreage used for food production will also be felt by consumers. The cost and availability of fresh produce will also be negatively impacted. Wade noted that the consequences of insufficient water availability in California will have a detrimental affect on domestic food security.
“The global unrest that we’re seeing is a strong indicator of the troubles we can see here at home if we’re not careful about maintaining our productivity and relying on a safe and domestic food supply. That comes with a reliable water supply for California,” Wade explained. “What we’re seeing around the world with the uncertainty and the problems in getting food to various parts of the world, we’ll see that here if we don’t take care of our own farm production.”