California Water Usage During Droughts; Approval of Trans-Pacific Partnership
Long-term trends in California agriculture reflect shifting production, according to USDA, which may have implications for water use during droughts. Annually harvested crops such as cotton, corn, and wheat are on a downward trend and have seen a 31-percent reduction in planted acreage in California since 2012. In contrast, almonds, grapes, and walnuts acreage are on a strong upward trend that does not appear to have slowed during the drought. Orchards and vineyards require larger capital investments than annual crops, and because of the potential loss of that investment, orchard/vineyard owners are generally less willing to reduce water usage during droughts. However, orchards and vineyards are also more dependent upon groundwater than volatile surface-water supplies.
The White House said this week it was optimistic Congress would approve the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement “in timely fashion,” despite comments last week by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. He said he does not see Congress taking up TPP for consideration until after the 2016 elections, possibly in a lame-duck session, if not after with a new administration.