California’s Relentless Droughts Strain Farming Towns
Inside Climate News
On May 10, after two dry winters in a row, Gov. Gavin Newsom declared the second drought emergency in less than a month. The declaration now covers 41 counties, from the Oregon border to the southern Central Valley, which produces more than 250 crops, worth $17 billion a year, and accounts for roughly three-quarters of the state’s irrigated land.
To mitigate severe drought impacts, the governor authorized state officials to direct water flows where they’re needed most. But some observers worry that the drought will aggravate long standing inequities in access to the state’s dwindling water supplies.
During the last drought, California farmers lost about 30 percent of their surface water allocations, which they replaced largely by pumping groundwater. They are likely to do the same thing this time around.