THE ECONOMICS OF CALIFORNIA DROUGHT

 

What happens when the country’s largest state runs low on water? The Golden State has been in the grips of historic drought conditions, and all the dryness has threatened not only the famous California lifestyle, but the state’s economically essential agriculture sector.

California is known for its coastal beaches, mountains, and desert. But the state’s most important economic region may be its Central Valley, one of the country’s most productive agricultural areas. Most of the tomatoes, lemon, pistachio and almonds in the United States are grown in the valley. However, the agricultural output demands a lot of water. While cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco can sustain themselves with less water, farmers in the Central Valley find it extremely hard to do so and be profitable at the same time. The lack of water is forcing California farmers to spend huge sums of money to keep their crops irrigated and thriving. In addition to irrigation, lack of water is also affecting the value of some farm land.

With that said, California’s dryness has had a national impact on food prices, as the cost of some U.S produce that primarily grow in the Golden State has increased. Nevertheless, the drought has become an opportunity to force the state to seriously focus and reform laws towards water supplies and overall consumption. California has always been a dry state, and things are not likely to change in that aspect. Even if the drought continues for another few years, through prudent conservation and measures we will adapt. Our relationship with water has shifted and new technologies have come to surface. It has brought about changes that were long overdue, and despite the state’s growing population, California’s per capita water consumption has been decreasing for the past decades.