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Fallow 2-Million Acres?

Mark Cowin, director of the state Department of Water Resources agrees. “That looks right to me,” Cowin says.

May 13, 2016

For years we've been told there would be enough water for all of us.  It wasn't really fish vs. farmers.  They said we could conserve our way out of this, move water around more efficiently.  We've had our doubts, but is the article below finally telling us the truth?  Although the article looks to be about watering lawns and hosing off driveways, it's really more about hosing farmers in the Central and South San Joaquin Valley.  

How so?  The article quickly evolves from lawns and driveways to ag water use and those "thirsty nut orchards" that are primarily for "profitable export overseas."  They throw in the misused 80% figure of ag water use for good measure.  

So, where's all this leading?  Let's cut to the chase.  “There’s not enough water,” says Jay Lund, director of the UC Davis watershed center. “It’s inevitable.”  He says up to 2 million of the San Joaquin Valley’s 5 million irrigated acres will need to be fallowed.  Mark Cowin, director of the state Department of Water Resources agrees.  “That looks right to me,” Cowin says.

There are about 5-million acres in the San Joaquin Valley, but a million-plus are in the North Valley where they are in better shape with water.  So, the 2-million acres will come out of the Central and Southern Valley where there are about 3&1/2 million acres.  So, over half that land will have to be fallowed.  Like Cowin says, “That looks right to me."  

If this is all true, it means what we've been told over the years is way off.  Farmers probably though they might lose 10% of the land use, but did it ever occur to anyone that it would be over 50%?  “That looks right to me."


So the drought has you watering less? It won't matter much

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