It is my contention that about three million irrigated acres in California will go out of production in the next few decades. My estimate is the highest I have seen.
I break it down as follows: annual overdraft in the SJV is between 4.5-5MAF. When that stops, either because groundwater management agencies bring the basins into balance or because groundwater will drop too low to economically pump, about 1.5M acres will not have irrigation water available to them.
I believe the droughts we are seeing now will be our future normal climate and we will receive very little useable precip. I believe urban users will use political power to claim more of what we do get and to protect adorable fishies. That gets me another million acres.
I believe the Delta will succumb to sea level rise, storm tides and floods on the Sacramento River. That’s another 300,000 acres.
I add these and round up, and arrive at 3 million irrigated acres retired, down from our current 9.5ish million irrigated acres.
Here is Dr. Burt, guessing that 1 to 1.5 million irrigated acres will go out of production. The PPIC/U.C. Davis crew must have a prediction, but I couldn’t find it handily. I’ll put it in this post if someone points me to it.