Sweeping cutbacks in water allocations to farms are leading to widespread underemployment in some of California’s most vulnerable communities. Lawmakers are scrambling for policy solutions.
The impact to paychecks has been raising food insecurity and malnutrition issues as food prices soar, while the reduced spending is reverberating through local businesses and economies. And the situation is exacerbating a mental health epidemic already made worse by the pandemic.
“Too often, these human impacts are overlooked,” said state Senator Melissa Hurtado of Sanger, in opening a recent hearing for the new Select Committee on Human Security. “We sometimes miss the impacts that drought has on food security, health, labor and the communities themselves.”