On April 21st, 2021, Governor Newsom declared a regional state of emergency for the Russian River Watershed in Sonoma and Mendocino counties due to record low water levels. Several months after, 50 out of 58 counties were declared to be in a drought emergency. In response, California water regulators voted unanimously on August 3rd, 2021, in favor of restricting water access to Central Valley farmers to mitigate the effects of the drought.
With record dry years and new regulations being implemented to conserve water, water rights prices are expected to increase similarly to those between 2012 and 2016 with a potential to reach new highs. In the face of high prices and new restrictions, farmers are forced to make hard choices and explore new crops, new techniques for water management, and seek financial assistance.
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