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Publication on Irrigation Decisions and Water Scarcity

Water scarcity is a significant problem in the western United States. Currently, California is experiencing a four-year drought. In 2015, the April 1 snowpack in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, which is the standard indicator of summer surface water availability in California, was 5 percent of normal which is the lowest on record. The lowest snowpack since 1950 was 25 percent of average, so Water Year 2015 is the driest winter in California's written record.

OreCal Principal Investigators Beau Olen, JunJie Wu, and Christian Langpap were recently published in the American Journal of Agricultural Economics for their article "Irrigation Decisions for Major West Coast Crops: Water Scarcity and Climatic Determinants." This study assesses the impact of water scarcity and climate on irrigation decisions for producers of specialty crops, wheat, and forage crops. The analysis presented provides valuable information about how producers in irrigated agricultural production systems would respond and adapt to water pricing policies and climate change.