New US Department of Agriculture report out this week shows the dollar value per acre of irrigated California cropland continuing to rise:
Above is a quick plot of the data for six of the seven states included in the Colorado River Basin. THIS IS NOT COLORADO RIVER BASIN IRRIGATED ACREAGE. Large areas of many of these states are outside the Colorado River Basin. Much of California’s irrigated acreage, for example, is in the Central Valley and elsewhere.
I’m intrigued by:
- California’s inexorable rise, despite the public policy discourse conventional wisdom that the Safe Groundwater Management Act will lead to a significant reduction in acreage now irrigated with groundwater. Maybe “the market”, whatever that is, thinks differently?
- Arizona’s flat (so declining with inflation, I haven’t added an inflation adjustment). Still quite valuable relative to the other states, but perhaps continued evidence of decline of irrigated ag in the central part of the state?
- The implications of climate change for these curves – I would hypothesize that as climate change reduces surface water flows the relative value of land that can be irrigated with groundwater would go up. Until policy changes (SGMA) or physically running out of (cheap) water bends the curves back down.
Source: USDA NASS
Disclosure: I’m not an economist, just some random blogger halfway through breakfast on a Friday morning.