The Latest Drought Headlines from California, Europe


The California drought rages on. According to the latest report from the University of California-Davis, the state saw a surface water shortage of 8.7 million acre feet, which is 48% below normal.

“[This shortage] will be mostly offset by increased groundwater pumping of 6 million acre feet,” according to the report. “Groundwater offsets almost 70% of the drought water shortage. Virtually all water shortages will be in the Central Valley.”

Losses have still proven costly, however. California’s agricultural economy is expected to be hit by $1.84 billion – a number that  increases to $2.74 billion and almost 21,000 jobs when multiplier effects are applied to all economic sectors.

The drought is affecting the physical ag landscape in California, too. Examples include a 200,000-acre boost in almond and walnut acres, which have displaced fields that were planted largely to cotton, irrigated pasture, grains and hay. An additional 542,000 irrigated acres were fallowed, with virtually all of those acres occurring in the Central Valley.

Dairy and livestock profits have also taken a tumble this year. UC-Davis reports that drought-induced loss in milk production is estimated around $250 million, and livestock losses could total another $100 million in 2015.

Meanwhile, across the Atlantic Ocean, Europe is also locked in its worst drought in a decade. The European Drought Observatory (EDO) reports that France, Benelux, Germany, Hungary, the Czech Republic, northern Italy and northern Spain have been most affected. Rainfall that was 50% to 60% below summertime normal were common in these areas, with some parts of Europe seeing an 80% or more precipitation reduction.


“As the effects of the weather conditions on vegetation are generally cumulative and delayed in time, weather conditions during August and September will be even more important to determining the future decline or prompt recovery of vegetative growth,” according to the report. 

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