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Article

Perennial Crop Dynamics May Affect Long-Run Groundwater Levels

1
The Nature Conservancy, Los Angeles, CA 90071, USA
2
School of Public Policy, University of California, Riverside, CA 92507, USA
3
Sustainable Agricultural Water Systems, USDA-ARS, Davis, CA 95616, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Nir Krakauer
Land 2021, 10(9), 971; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10090971
Received: 26 July 2021 / Revised: 3 September 2021 / Accepted: 9 September 2021 / Published: 15 September 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Land Use, Economics and Climate Change)
During California’s severe drought from 2011 to 2017, a significant shift in irrigated area from annual to perennial crops occurred. Due to the time requirements associated with bringing perennial crops to maturity, more perennial acreage likely increases the opportunity costs of fallowing, a common drought mitigation strategy. Increases in the costs of fallowing may put additional pressure on another common “go-to” drought mitigation strategy—groundwater pumping. Yet, overdrafted groundwater systems worldwide are increasingly becoming the norm. In response to depleting aquifers, as evidenced in California, sustainable groundwater management policies are being implemented. There has been little modeling of the potential effect of increased perennial crop production on groundwater use and the implications for public policy. A dynamic, integrated deterministic model of agricultural production in Kern County, CA, is developed here with both groundwater and perennial area by vintage treated as stock variables. Model scenarios investigate the impacts of surface water reductions and perennial prices on land and groundwater use. The results generally indicate that perennial production may lead to slower aquifer draw-down compared with deterministic models lacking perennial crop dynamics, highlighting the importance of accounting for the dynamic nature of perennial crops in understanding the co-evolution of agricultural and groundwater systems under climate change. View Full-Text
Keywords: California; groundwater; Kern County; irrigation; perennials; SGMA; sustainability; water; climate change; agriculture California; groundwater; Kern County; irrigation; perennials; SGMA; sustainability; water; climate change; agriculture
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MDPI and ACS Style

Franklin, B.; Schwabe, K.; Levers, L. Perennial Crop Dynamics May Affect Long-Run Groundwater Levels. Land 2021, 10, 971. https://doi.org/10.3390/land10090971

AMA Style

Franklin B, Schwabe K, Levers L. Perennial Crop Dynamics May Affect Long-Run Groundwater Levels. Land. 2021; 10(9):971. https://doi.org/10.3390/land10090971

Chicago/Turabian Style

Franklin, Bradley, Kurt Schwabe, and Lucia Levers. 2021. "Perennial Crop Dynamics May Affect Long-Run Groundwater Levels" Land 10, no. 9: 971. https://doi.org/10.3390/land10090971

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