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Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly

Authors

Lindsey Pace

Abstract

California is America's largest agricultural farming state. Agriculture in the Central Valley is a multimillion dollar industry. California is the fifth largest supplier of food in the world. The productivity of the agricultural sector of the Central Valley is one reason why California could overtake Brazil this year as the world's seventh largest economy. The agricultural sector produces over $30 billion-dollars' worth of America's supply of almonds, milk, cattle, grapes, strawberries, walnuts, lettuce, hay, tomatoes, and more. Additionally the state produces over 400 commodities and nearly half of all US-grown fruits, vegetables, and nuts. California's robust agriculture sector is the also the largest absorber of the state's water resources taking roughly eighty percent of the total supply. Unfortunately, California has been plagued with drought over the past few years, calling for water use policy reform.

On April 1, 2015, Governor Brown mandated unprecedented statewide water restrictions for everyone in California, except for certain farmers. The restrictions include enacting the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act regulating use of California's groundwater reserves for the first time in history. This note discusses these reforms, what they do right, where they fall short, and suggests some prescriptive remedies to aid the farming industry in California and keep fresh produce in grocery stores.

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