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Farm revenues down just 3 percent due to water losses

The most recent estimates of job losses due to cuts in water allocations from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta are far lower than was first predicted, according to an article published last week in the Contra Costa Times.

In early 2009, UC Davis economist Richard Howitt predicted the drought and new restrictions on Delta pumping would cost 95,000 jobs, but he revised the figure downward a number of times. Even though, the old number is still sometimes used, recently by Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman and Republican U.S. Senate candidate Carly Fiorina, the article said.

"Yes, it's a problem when candidates don't use the most recent and accurate figures," Howitt said in an e-mail to reporter Mike Taugher. "I have tried to correct this, but this combined report should help put some of the outdated values to rest."

Current estimates of lost farm revenue in agriculture because of water shortages are $340 million (by Jeffrey Michael, director of the Business Forecasting Center at the University of Pacific) and $370 million (by Howitt). In both cases, that represents a less than 3 percent decline in San Joaquin Valley farm revenues. Job losses are estimated to be between 5,500 and 7,500 jobs.

Posted on Monday, October 4, 2010 at 10:48 AM

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