California Agriculture Could Suffer as Water Prices Soar

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Water restrictions are not a new thing to California — the state has been imposing them on residents every summer for decades. However, Governor Jerry Brown just ordered one of the largest mandatory water restrictions in California history. Residents need to cut their water usage by 25 percent. Governor Brown said, “We’re standing on dry ground and we should be standing on five feet of snow. This is rationing. We’re just doing it through the different water districts.” California definitely needs to deal with the drought, but the water restrictions could have major implications on their agricultural exports. After all, crops need water to grow.

The water restrictions essentially mean that golf courses, parks, and residential homes won’t have the ornamental turf that they are used to. People are being urged to switch to drought-tolerant landscaping and farmers are also being guided to use less water for irrigation. The state is also thinking about promoting four-minute showers and other water saving promotions to get water usage down.

California is entering the fourth year of their drought and it doesn’t look like things are going to ease up anytime soon. The new water restrictions are supposed to save some 1.5 million acre-feet of water in a nine-month period. To encourage residents to reduce their water usage, water prices are being increased and rebate plans are being implemented for people who install water-efficient appliances and systems in their homes.

Farmers are very worried because using less water means lower crop production levels. Cattle drink several gallons of water per month before they are processed into meat products. Crops also use a large amount of water. California’s local economy will suffer if they cannot produce the crops they are used to and this could cause the price of food to skyrocket. Water is already expensive, and food will soon follow because it takes water to make food.

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