Thursday, 14 May 2015

Tulare County Leads the State in Dry Wells, and Agricultural Expansion

ACWA reports on DWR Director Mark Cowin’s comments at a drought hearing this week,

Cowin said DWR is implementing a number of water management changes, including a drought barrier in the Delta and temporary urgency changes in operations. He said about 1,900 wells have gone dry in California and over 1,000 of the dry wells are in Tulare County.
Below is a table showing the change in harvested acres between 2013 and 2007 compiled from County crop reports.

change in acres 2013 to 2007
field fruit/nut veg total % ch
Kern -173783 113035 -19324 -80072 -8.7%
Kings -51693 13050 18 -38625 -6.8%
Tulare 101546 72518 -334 173730 20.4%
Fresno -154386 39916 -48240 -162710 -13.8%
Madera -22280 37560 100 15380 5.2%
Merced 46204 10263 1528 57995 10.3%
Stanislaus 50118 56865 12887 119870 27.5%
San Joaquin 24000 49000 -25200 47800 7.6%
Total -180274 392207 -78565 133368 2.5%
-5.9% 21.7% -13.4% 2.5%

Tulare leads growth in total acres, whereas Stanislaus leads growth in percentage terms.  Kern has the greatest growth in fruit/nut which are usually permanent crops.

To what extent is the Valley suffering from a man-made drought?  While it is politically popular to point fingers at the Endangered Species Act, I don’t think the Delta Smelt planted those orchards.    


About the Author

Ethan Jacob

Author & Editor

I am Ethan Jacob Executive Director of the Center for Business and Policy Research at the University of the Pacific, where I have a joint faculty appointment in the Eberhardt School of Business and the Public Policy Program in the McGeorge School of Law..

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