University of California

When water is scarce: Ground water is key to easing impact of drought


Richard E. Howitt

Author Affiliations

R. E. Howitt is Professor, Department of Agricultural Economics, UC Davis.

Publication Information

Hilgardia 45(3):4-9. DOI:10.3733/ca.v045n03p4. May 1991.

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In contrast to projections that drought-related farm losses could climb to several billion dollars this year, a UC model predicts actual losses will be $647 million - largely due to the cushioning effect of a projected 70% increase in ground water pumping. The most significant economic impact will be felt in the South San Joaquin Valley, and along the Coast. Consumers will pay $220 million more for produce at the farm gate-an amount that may be magnified two or three times at the retail market.

On page 6, the author and a colleague outline a scenario for ground water banking. They propose incentives to encourage ground water “savings” during wet and normal years — deposits to a “water bank account” which can be withdrawn in droughts

Howitt R. 1991. When water is scarce: Ground water is key to easing impact of drought. Hilgardia 45(3):4-9. DOI:10.3733/ca.v045n03p4
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