As drought drives prices higher, millions of Californians struggle to pay for water
Posted Thursday, February 15, 2019 8:16 pm
The Sacramento Bee
A Sacramento area farm stand sits along the South Fork of the American River, just off the Feather River in the state’s Central Valley.
Nearly the entire stretch of the river has been declared a drought-stricken area by the U.S. Drought Monitor, which has declared tens of thousands of acres of the river basin as either very poor or very poor to drought-tolerant.
California’s drought is not just the dry season that has dried out many state riverbeds.
California is now one of only a handful in the western hemisphere where a widespread drought is ongoing – an ongoing threat to the health of the state’s agricultural economy.
As water supplies dwindle and prices rise, millions of Californians struggle to pay for essential supplies and the cost of running essential services.
They are now paying close to $3 to $4 per day every two months.
The price of water at the water supply delivery station is already much higher and is expected to go up much more as California continues to dry out, the California State Drought Contingencies Assessment Office said.
For a household of four, that’s about $25 to $30 a day.
It’s worse for children, who are the most vulnerable to climate-related dangers.
And the cost can be even worse for small businesses, which have fewer resources to weather an ongoing drought.
To illustrate the financial stress the drought has caused, the Sacramento Bee used a cost-of-living index from the Government Finance Officers Association.
That figure measures the cost of basic necessities such as food, housing and medical care.
A typical family living in a single-family home with two children, who make $60,000 a year, can afford to spend $2,972 a year on housing and $1,622 on food, the Bee said.
That’s about $25,878 a year for housing and $21,721 for food.
Using that cost of living index, the average family in California has paid for about 7.5 percent