Policy Group Warns of Steep Ag Losses Without Coordinated Action on Water

Agriculture in the San Joaquin Valley may be able to blunt a sharp decline in the years ahead if policymakers and the industry can come together on a series of strategies for reducing demand for irrigation while also increasing water supply, according to a new assessment from a prominent policy organization.

The report this month from the Public Policy Institute of California examined the biggest challenge confronting the state’s ag industry then recommended softening the impact by loosening water-trading rules, incentivizing farmland reuse and investing in storage, including groundwater recharge.

California’s Drought is Back, but Nobody Wants to Hear it from Newsom

California’s drought conditions might normally prompt calls for shorter showers and shutting off sprinklers. But Californians are in no mood to hear it after a year of pandemic deprivation. Especially from Gov. Gavin Newsom, who is facing an almost certain recall election after imposing multiple rounds of business closures and constantly telling residents to stay home.

Sierra Snowpack Withering in California’s Dry Winter. New Satellite Image Shows the Bad News

The image is disturbing and leaves little doubt about California’s growing predicament: The snowpack in the Sierra Nevada is a sad whisper of it was a year ago, a withering testament to the lack of precipitation in the state’s increasingly dry winter.

The National Weather Service tweeted satellite images of the Sierra on Tuesday, showing the stark difference between this year and the above-average snowfall from 2019. The mountain snowpack — a crucial element in the state’s annual water supply — is 53 percent of normal for this time of year, according to the Department of Water Resources.