By the Numbers: $2.2 billion
California’s persistent drought is turning into a money-suck of historic proportions. The dry scourge will end up costing the state $2.2 billion and more than 17,000 jobs, according to a new study from the University of California, Davis.
Experts say consumers will be spared for the most part, which may be a bad thing since it deceptively downplays the effects of what the study deems the “greatest water loss ever seen in California agriculture.”
Even as protracted dry years in 2015 and beyond are expected to cost Central Valley farmers $1 billion a year, urban dwellers with mostly sufficient supplies will likely buy water from agricultural areas.
Unfortunately, experts say, the shortfall could have been lessened if the state had built more reservoirs or farmers had more accurately accounted for their groundwater levels.
Inadequate monitoring has made it tough to track how much water lies beneath the surface, which makes tapping it like writing checks without ever balancing the checkbook.