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Megadrought Sends California Water Prices to All-Time High



The price for an acre-foot of water on California's spot market hit $1,144 in late June, a 56% hike since the start of 2022. (AP File)
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As California’s severe drought limits the flow of water to cities and farms, the price for H2O is skyrocketing.

Bloomberg reports the price for an acre-foot of water rose to $1,144.14 an acre-foot on the Nasdaq Veles California Water Index in late June. That’s a hike of 56% since the start of 2022.

In addition, Westlands growers are paying about $2,000 an acre-foot on the open market, according to Sarah Woolf, a former Westlands Water District board member who is president of Water Wise, a water brokerage and consultancy based in Fresno.

Drought Endangers Farming’s Future

SJV Water reporter Lois Henry reported in April that one ag water sale in the Panoche Water District on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley hit the eye-popping price of $2,000 an acre-foot.

Some growers are willing to pay that much, it was explained, to see a crop survive and go to market. But even with high crop prices, $2,000 an acre-foot doesn’t pencil out over the long haul for farmers.

Woolf agrees.

“From the agriculture front it’s just not sustainable,” she said. “I don’t know of a crop that can carry water prices like that.”

Read more at this Bloomberg link.

Bill McEwen is news director and columnist for GV Wire. He joined GV Wire in August 2017 after 37 years at The Fresno Bee. With The Bee, he served as Opinion Editor, City Hall reporter, Metro columnist, sports columnist and sports editor through the years. His work has been frequently honored by the California Newspapers Publishers Association, including authoring first-place editorials in 2015 and 2016. Bill and his wife, Karen, are proud parents of two adult sons, and they have two grandsons. You can contact Bill at 559-492-4031 or at Send an Email

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