ABC 23 –
A report released today by the Southern California Water Committee and the Committee for Delta Reliability exposes the unintended consequences of nearly two decades of water cuts caused by environmental regulation – showing the hardest hit are those who rely on agriculture to survive, such as farmworkers, food processors, truck drivers and warehouse workers, among many others.
Acclaimed U.C. Berkeley Professor and Department of Agricultural & Resources Chair David L. Sunding studied the impacts of water cuts since 2000 and found that California is losing an average of 1.3 million acre-feet of water each year – enough water to sustain more than 10 million Southern California residents for a full year or irrigate 400,000 acres of farmland. Sunding also studied future impacts of water cuts and determined that the outlook is bleak for hard-working Californians toiling each day to grow our nation’s food supply, as they’re expected to lose more than 21,000 jobs every year over the course of 30 years – with more than 11,000 being farmworker jobs.
“Water cuts have resulted in more than 38 million people competing for fewer available resources,” Sunding said. “While everyone is impacted to a degree, it’s clear that California’s farmworkers have been ignored and forgotten in the state’s water woes – ultimately losing jobs and income.” The report concludes that farmworker wages are an unforeseen causality of water cuts – with workers already having lost $900 million in wages since 2000 and poised to lose $4 billion in wages over the span of three decades.