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Policy Brief

Policy Brief: The Future of Agriculture in the San Joaquin Valley

By Alvar Escriva-Bou, Ellen Hanak, Spencer Cole, Josué Medellín-Azuara

Agriculture is a key driver of the regional economy in the San Joaquin Valley, but water for irrigation is an ongoing—and growing—concern. Our latest research offers the most accurate, nuanced, and localized look at where fallowing may need to occur—and details the policy and management actions that could lead to better outcomes.

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Can Nine Atmospheric Rivers Recharge California’s Groundwater?

By Sarah Bardeen

Last month’s storms dropped immense amounts of water on California. Now, many people are wondering if we’ve been able to sock away any of that bounty—so we asked groundwater hydrologist Helen Dahlke to give us the skinny.

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Video: Solar Development in the San Joaquin Valley

By Sarah Bardeen

Last week, we gathered a panel of experts to debate the potential benefits and challenges of solar development in the San Joaquin Valley. Watch the event video to learn more about our new research—and to see a lively discussion about how solar might deliver lasting benefits to the region and the state.


Solar Development in the San Joaquin Valley

To balance the San Joaquin Valley’s groundwater basins, hundreds of thousands of acres of irrigated farmland may come out of production in the coming decades. Utility-scale solar development—already an attractive option for landowners—could help keep these lands economically productive, but it faces some obstacles. Can solar overcome these challenges and help support the region as a whole? Join us for an expert panel discussion.


Solar Energy and Groundwater in the San Joaquin Valley

By Andrew Ayres, Annabelle Rosser, Ellen Hanak, Alvar Escriva-Bou ...

Hundreds of thousands of acres of irrigated farmland may come out of production in the San Joaquin Valley in coming decades. At the same time, the state needs to ramp up renewable energy generation to meet climate goals. Could solar development on fallowed land help the valley’s residents? Our new report examines the challenges and opportunities.

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Is SGMA Compatible with Farmland Preservation?

By Annabelle Rosser

The implementation of SGMA will prompt land use transitions throughout the San Joaquin Valley, raising questions about how the state's chief agricultural preservation policy - the Williamson Act - will come into play. Many alternate uses are likely to be compatible with the program, while others - namely solar – are more complex.

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Commentary: Drought Requires New Strategies for Managing Cropland

By Andrew Ayres, Caitlin Peterson

With careful planning, research and development, and incentive programs, the San Joaquin Valley can avoid the worst consequences of land fallowing — and perhaps even create environmental and economic benefits.

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Video: Farmland in Transition—The San Joaquin Valley

By Vicki Hsieh

Hundreds of thousands of acres of irrigated farmland may come out of production in the San Joaquin Valley as the region brings its groundwater basins into balance. How do we manage all this newly fallowed land? We discuss our new research with a panel of experts.

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