California drought expected to cost state $2.2 billion in losses
Wednesday, July 16, 2014 - 01:25
California's drought is expected to cost the state more than $2 billion this year as well as some 17,000 jobs. Mana Rabiee reports
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California is in its third year of a catastrophic drought.
That's not news, but what IS news is just how much the drought is COSTING the state.
A new report from the University of California estimates more than $2 BILLION dollars are at stake.
Plus thousands of jobs, as many as 17,000.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) KAREN ROSS, SECRETARY OF THE CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF FOOD AND AGRICULTURE, SAYING:
"There's no single action that we can take to betters survive drought in the future. It does take a portfolio approach that requires that Californians develop an ethic of conservation."
The drought has depleted the Sierra Nevada snow pack, which feeds water into the state's rivers and streams.
No water means farmers are forced to let some of their most valuable crops go fallow.
Sixty-percent of those fallowed crops -- corns, beans as well as dairy -- are dying in the San Joaquin Valley.
That's where 70 percent of the state's agricultural revenue is concentrated.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) JAY LUND, DIRECTOR OF THE UC DAVIS CENTER FOR WATERSHED SCIENCES, SAYING:
"It's not catastrophic if we manage it well. All the climate change studies that we've done, we don't see catastrophe if we manage it well, but we do see inconvenience and we do see costs."
The report urges better water management and more reliance on groundwater in years when there IS rain.
For now, California ranchers are selling livestock in droves to other states.
And most of those 17,000 lost jobs are in agriculture -- seasonal and part time workers concentrated in this parched San Joaquin Valley.
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