California hay acreage down

Almonds get all the attention, but hay, that most pedestrian of crops, still covers more acres of California farmland. But less than it used to. In the drought of 2015, California farmers are planning to plant and maintain past plantings of 1.23 million acres of hay, according to new USDA data published last week. That’s …

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The water efficiency of California ag

Some interesting stats from Charles Fishman (whose book The Big Thirst is a timely read): Looking at California water stats for Bloomberg TV appearance. A stunner: Calif farms use less water today (23.1 bgd) than in 1970 (33 bgd) — Charles Fishman (@cfishman) April 13, 2015 2/ In 45 years, California farmers have cut water …

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The problem with the “running out of water” rhetoric

I stumbled this evening across this 2009 piece by the Public Policy Institute of California which seems quite timely: The Myth The popular press often propagates the myth that California is running out of water. As a recent example: “Have you seen Lake Oroville lately? If so, you know California is running out of water” …

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On climate, a call for more social science

David Victor on the need for better inclusion of social science in the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change: The IPCC must overhaul how it engages with the social sciences in particular…. Fields such as sociology, political science and anthropology are central to understanding how people and societies comprehend and respond to environmental changes, …

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Some difficulties in setting up water markets

Water markets – willing buyers and willing sellers, to get water moved from places with a lot to places that need it really bad – are a hot topic of conversation right now, what with California’s big drought and all. Brian Devine at the University of Colorado has a nice post up this week explaining …

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Corn, cotton, hay, rice all down: how California farmers are responding to drought

California farmers by now have a pretty clear picture of what their water supply situation is going to be this year, whether it’s reservoir and irrigation system surface delivery, or groundwater pumping. The U.S. Department of Agriculture today released projected acreage for the state’s major field crops (pdf) that reflects farmers’ resulting choices: corn: 430,000 …

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Exaggerated Impacts of Unrealistic Water Shortages

A guest post of sorts* from a group of prominent economists here in the western United States questioning the findings in a widely quoted report (pdf here) by a group from Arizona State about the potential economic impact if the Colorado River went dry: *********** A January 14th article in the Wall Street Journal reported …

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