The Effects of a Water Shortage on Local Agriculture: A Case Study

Uncategorized By Mar 10, 2023

A new article highlights the impact water scarcity has on agriculture production as agriculture is heavily dependent on water. The case study of the 2015 California drought shows how a reduced water supply can affect productivity and output. The drought had significant effects on local agriculture, affecting crop production and livestock. Farmers had to reduce the acreage of crops they planted and livestock farmers had to liquidate their herds. Local agriculture can adopt solutions such as water conservation practices, rainwater harvesting and planting drought-resistant crops to mitigate the effects of water shortages.

The Effects of a Water Shortage on Local Agriculture: A Case Study


Water scarcity is a growing concern in many regions worldwide, and its impact on agriculture cannot be overlooked. Agriculture is heavily dependent on water, and so a shortage of water can significantly affect local agriculture’s productivity and output. In this article, we aim to discuss the impact of a water shortage on local agriculture, using the example of a case study.

Case Study

The case study we will examine is that of the drought in California in 2015. California is one of the most productive agricultural regions in the United States, with over 200 different crops grown and an annual output of over $50 billion in farm output. Unfortunately, the state was hit by a severe drought in 2015, which reduced the water supply available for agriculture.

Effects on Agriculture

The drought had significant effects on local agriculture, affecting both crop production and livestock. Here are some of the impacts of the drought on the different types of agriculture:

Crop Production

The shortage of water had a significant impact on crop production, with farmers required to reduce the acreage of crops they planted. The lack of water resulted in the loss of crop yields and quality; for example, the almond crop sector, which is vital to California’s economy, was significantly impacted by the drought. The reduction in acreage planted also led to a decline in employment opportunities for farmworkers, who were laid off due to low demand.


Livestock farms were also affected by the drought, with some farmers having to liquidate their herds to preserve their remaining pasture and water supplies. This led to a sharp increase in the cost of meat, milk, and other animal products. Dairy farms, in particular, faced significant challenges as milk production levels plummeted due to the heat and lack of feed for the cows.

Solutions to the Water Shortage

There are several solutions that local agriculture can adopt to mitigate the effects of water shortages. Some of these solutions include:

Water Conservation

Farmers can adopt water conservation practices such as drip irrigation, which helps reduce the amount of water required to grow crops. They can also implement soil moisture sensors to monitor the soil’s moisture levels, ensuring that crops are irrigated only when necessary.

Rainwater Harvesting

Harvesting rainwater can help farmers build their water supply, reducing their reliance on municipal water sources. Farmers can collect rainwater in storage tanks and use it for irrigation during the dry season.

Plant Drought-Resistant Crops

Farmers can also switch to drought-resistant crops that require less water. Such crops can thrive in a water-scarce environment and still provide the required yields for farmers.


What is meant by water scarcity?

Water scarcity refers to the lack of sufficient water resources to meet human and ecosystem demands.

How does water scarcity affect agriculture?

Water scarcity can significantly impact agriculture by limiting the water supply required for plant growth, reducing crop yields and quality, and increasing livestock mortality rates.

What are some solutions to water scarcity in agriculture?

Some solutions to water scarcity in agriculture include water conservation practices, rainwater harvesting, and planting drought-resistant crops.