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Press Release by the Water Blueprint for the San Joaquin Valley

A new report by University of California, Berkeley, economists Dr. David Sunding and Dr. David Roland-Holst shows that the California economy will suffer unless responsible, balanced water reforms are enacted in the effort to achieve groundwater sustainability goals in the San Joaquin Valley. As outlined in the report, permanent economic impacts will include:

Counting indirect and induced job losses together with direct losses, California stands to permanently lose as many as 85,000 full-time jobs and $2.1 billion in employee wages across California. These losses will reach further into the economy as newly unemployed workers have less income to spend on household purchases. 

Tax revenue for local and state government is expected to drop by approximately $535 million per year, based on $242 million in lost city and county tax revenue and $293 million in lost tax revenue at the state level. 

Up to 1 million acres of productive farmland will be permanently fallowed in the San Joaquin Valley, representing one-fifth of all acres under cultivation in the Valley.

• The annual farm revenue loss associated with this fallowing is $7.2 billion per year, or roughly 14 percent of California’s total farm production.

• Despite a demonstrated statewide impact, the areas most impacted by job losses are the state’s most under served communities already suffering from the lack of quality drinking water.

“I have been at this a long time and the findings of this report are significant. Notably, the economic impacts are highly regressive and appear to have the greatest effect in disadvantaged communities,” according to Dr. Sunding.  

The report was supported by the “Water Blueprint for the San Joaquin Valley”, a broad coalition of local governments, academic institutions, water users, and others working toward achieving balanced solutions that limit economic, community, and environmental impacts. The group recognizes the need for cooperation between water stakeholders, including environmental groups and disadvantaged community groups, to develop and advance thoughtful solutions.

“This report is an attempt to further define the challenges we collectively face related to California water. Reaching collaborative solutions will not be easy but we are committed to trying to do so. This effort will likely require significant action, such as strategic multi beneficial land conversion. We encourage all stakeholders to join the discussion,” said Austin Ewell, the Executive Director of the Water Blueprint for the San Joaquin Valley.

A second phase of the study, which is expected to be released later this year, will identify the consensus reforms and infrastructure investments required to help mitigate community, environmental, and industry impacts.

Learn more at the Water Blueprint for the San Joaquin Valley visit

Editors note:  a full copy of the study can be found on the website for the Water Blueprint for the San Joaquin Valley.

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