Pacific Institute

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Deconstructing the Drought

A new report disputes some alleged impacts to the Central Valley from water restrictions, reveals others

(Photo: Craig Miller)

Blame the housing recession, not water restrictions. That’s the conclusion of a new report from the Oakland-based Pacific Institute, which scrutinizes the connection between cutbacks in farm water deliveries and Central Valley job losses during California’s recent three-year drought.

Impacts of the 2007-2009 California Drought: What Really Happened? is described by its authors as a “nine-month assessment of new data from California’s agricultural, energy, and environmental sectors.”

Its main finding, that “Farm job losses were largely unrelated to water constraints,” appears to be a direct refutation of claims by Congressman Devin Nunes (R-Fresno), and others, that regulatory and court-ordered restrictions on water deliveries have caused “massive unemployment” in the San Joaquin Valley. Continue reading