Economic evaluation of agricultural adaptation to climate change and water resources constraints in the San Joaquin Valley, California, 2014-2018

The San Joaquin Valley (SJV) is one of the most productive agricultural regions in the world due to its vast crop diversity. 1 of every 4 food items in the US are produced in the SJV.  The SJV is facing water quantity and quality restraints, deteriorating farmland quality, along with climate change pressures. Bachand & Associates has teamed with Tetra Tech, Systech Water Resources, UC Merced, and UC Davis to develop an integrative water, agricultural and economic modeling framework (WAEF) to evaluate the opportunities, approaches, and limitations to the complex problems described above.  WAEF will measure the effects of agricultural adaptation strategies and determine the environmental and economic costs and benefits of sustainable agricultural planning decisions. Additionally, WAEF provides a framework for addressing environmental constraints in agriculture across the Western U.S. that can evolve.

The model aims to aid efforts towards goals outlined in the 2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). The expansive project considers climate change impacts on Sierra runoff, reservoir reoperation strategies, and improved surface and groundwater integration. We will collaborate with California agencies, local water agencies and irrigation districts, and farming organizations to develop a truly comprehensive approach to SJV water management that will aid state and local agencies in SGMA implementation. The information from the model will be used to inform stakeholders and agencies on management strategies to accommodate for climate change and foreseeable upcoming regulations.

As one of the lead PIs of this extensive project, Philip Bachand has following objectives: (1) Identify strategies for farmers and water planners to adjust to climate change in CA and (2) Integrate with efforts related to California’s 2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). Bachand & Associates has participated in the CA’s SGMA process providing insight into development of FloodMAR, flooding natural and semi-natural landscapes for Managed Aquifer Recharge, and review of the 2018 California Water Plan. We attended board meeting with local agencies developing their Groundwater Sustainability Plans and met with local farmers and stakeholders. We also invested in on-farm recharge research and implementation as an agricultural management strategy (link to project).