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California Drought Cost: $2.2 Billion and Thousands of Jobs

The direct costs to agriculture alone total $1.5 billion, and the drought is expected to continue into next year, a new report says.
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The California drought will cost the state $2.2 billion and put some 17,000 agricultural workers out of a job this year, according to a new report. And it’s not expected to end any time soon. The direct costs to agriculture alone total $1.5 billion, with the Central Valley the hardest hit, according to the study from the Center for Watershed Sciences at the University of California, Davis. About 5 percent of irrigated cropland is going out of production because of the drought, which is likely to continue through 2015, the report said. As surface water has dried up, farmers have turned to ground water supplies — at a cost of about half a billion dollars in extra pumping costs. The U.S. Drought Monitor said the state had the warmest period and third driest period between July 2013 and June 2014 since 1895.

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-Mark Koba,