Environmental Protection

California Ranchers Dread the Impacts of Water Shortage

After a water emergency was declared for California less than two weeks ago, ranchers voice their concern over the impacts the drought will have on their livestock and crops if the water shortage continues for much longer.

Researchers from the University of California, Davis conducted a statewide survey and follow-up interviews with ranchers that voiced their concerns over the drought conditions. According to the study, one-third of ranchers in the state of California can expect disastrous effects to their crops and livestock as a result of the current water shortage.

Over 511 ranchers were surveyed in the study, and Leslie Roche, UC Davis postdoctoral researcher, and her colleagues are currently conducting in-depth interviews with those ranchers to find out more on how the ranchers respond to drought and similar conditions.

According to Roche, the agriculture sector in California is most susceptible to water shortages because ranchers depend on rain-fed systems instead of groundwater or stored water.

Last year, California experienced its driest year on record. The last two winter seasons have also produced below normal snowfall, forcing many ranchers to already use drought plans. 

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