Researchers at the Center for Watershed Sciences at UC Davis just published their third annual report on California’s ongoing drought, “Economic Analysis of the 2016 California Drought for Agriculture.” The report was authored by Josué Medellín-Azuara, Duncan MacEwan, Richard Howitt, Daniel Sumner, and Jay Lund.
The authors found that the economic impacts of the drought in 2015-16, though substantial, are less than in 2013-14 and 2014-15. They estimated the direct costs of the 2016 drought at $550 million, slightly more than 1% of California’s annual agricultural output. However, they caution that California’s water resources are still in vulnerable condition – depleted after several years of severe drought – and the possible impact of below-average precipitation in 2016-17 remains a major concern.
For the latest drought status in California, you can check the US Drought Monitor page for California, which is updated weekly. Current reservoir conditions are posted online by the California Department of Water Resources.