Today, members of the Central Valley’s Congressional delegation received an expert analysis that for the first time projects the devastating impact that the latest round of water cutbacks is having on families, businesses and communities of the Central Valley. The findings present a graphic demonstration of the need to fix California’s broken water system.I took a look at the press release [DOC] and accompanying economic report [PDF]. The report (by well-known water economists) uses a linear-programming model to project the impact of water disruptions on the local economy.
Although projected losses are actually quite small** (700 jobs and $175 million, claim the PR people), I was more interested in their distribution. The organization that commissioned the report is projected to suffer very small losses compared to Westlands. I attribute larger losses at Westlands to that district's larger size as well as its riskier water profile -- the land and water supply to Westlands is so marginal (e.g., no groundwater) that a disruption has devastating impacts.
Bottom Line: Any relief to Westlands should go to those who lose their jobs -- not the farmers who are trying to grow crops on horrible land. Westlands should never have come into existence; see prior posts. Now we see why.
* I had to ask who their client was. She replied:
I work for westlands water district. The san luis delta mendota water authority commissioned and paid for the report while westlands supplied data along with a couple of the other public agencies in the central valley.** California agriculture is a $32 billion industry that employs 308,000 people. (No, I do not use or cite "multiplier" statistics on "related" jobs or economic activity -- too much double-counting.) Note that agriculture is a tiny part of a $1.5 trillion state economy that employs 18 million people.
Congressman Costa was in town today for a hearing and agreed that we could send his release with the economic study.
If this is not compelling the mayor of mendota provided very grave testimony today at the hearing that tells just how dire the situation truely is in the area. I encourage you to call him as well.