Central Valley brown hills and orchard

Drought Research

Groundwater reserves depleted from overpumping

UC Davis scientists say the drought is responsible for the greatest reduction in water availability for California agriculture ever seen.

Groundwater management issues and other key findings are outlined in an extensive new report on the drought’s impact.

  •  Projected economic cost is $2.2 billion
  •  17,100 seasonal and part-time jobs lost
  •  5 percent of irrigated cropland out of production

LISTEN: Audio of National Press Club news conference 

WATCH: Video of National Press Club news conference

Connecting wildfires to climate change and drought

thinned forest after wildfire

Jens Stevens, with the UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences studied the practice of thinning forests and found this treatment makes a difference in the forest’s ability to withstand a burn in really hot and dry conditions.  Stevens specializes in what is called disturbance ecology, under the context of climate change. 

UC Davis study shows water commitments are five times more than actual flow in state's rivers/streams

UC Davis water researchers on Mt. Dana

“We’ve created a false sense that there is sufficient water to meet everyone’s needs,” said Theodore Grantham, a UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences researcher who co-wrote the new analysis on the state’s water demands.

The research is documented in this San Jose Mercury News special report.

Campus Water

UC Davis secures water source for the future

UC Davis is entering into a contract to receive water from the Woodland-Davis surface water project. The move is a way for the campus to pick up an additional water source to suppliment underwater wells, which have been impacted by the drought. UC Davis will pay $20 million to help fund the project and construct water pipelines.

Water well drawdown underscores need to conserve

UC Davis blue water pipes

Pumping in one of the main water wells on the west side of the UC Davis campus has been reduced to prevent further drawdown.  Utilities records show the water table in the well has dropped 82 feet from April to June. Other wells will take up the slack providing water with no impact anticipated. Drought conservation measures continue on campus, with an incentive program just announced to reward water savers.

64 million gallons of water saved

landscaping on the UC Davis campus

That's the total so far on campus this year. Check real-time savings with the UC Davis Water Dashboard.

Wondering what to plant this summer?

Get through the dry heat with these not-so-thirsty suggestions from the UC Davis Arboretum.


El NiƱo will not end drought nor ease fire risk

NOAA El Nino image

Photo courtesy of NOAA

UC Davis wildfire and water experts don't expect El Niño to save California from the ravages of drought.

Read and listen to their comments in this Drought Watch report.

UC Davis Experts

Jay Lund, director of the Center for Watershed Sciences at UC Davis, can discuss the impacts of drought on California’s water supply.

Richard Howitt, professor emeritus of agricultural and natural resource economics, can talk about the economic effects of drought on agriculture.

Mark Schwartz, director of the John Muir Institute of the Environment, can discuss the impact of drought on wildfires.  Cal Fire info.

Water Education

Get ahead or get parched: Six ways to survive the drought

Workshops for landscape irrigation managers are scheduled in Los Angeles on July 29 and in Irvine on July 31. Registration.

Presented by the UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and the California Center for Urban Horticulture.