This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
TheStreet Open House

California's Drought Means Higher Prices for Many Commodities


WATCH: More feature videos on TheStreet TV | More videos from Brittany Umar

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Following a near-record dry winter, California's agriculture sector will likely take a big hit this year and that could drive up food prices.

As summer approaches, California's three-year drought is intensifying.

The California Department of Water Resources found that after a near-record dry winter, the statewide snowpack's water content was only 18% of average for May 1.  As the snowpack normally provides about a third of water for California's farms and cities, the department says half-full reservoirs will not be significantly replenished by a melting snowpack this spring and summer.

That does not bode well for the state's agriculture.

California produces over 250 different crops and leads the nation in production of 75 commodities. It is the sole producer of 12 commodities including almonds, artichokes, dates, figs, olives and walnuts, according to the state's Department of Water Resources.

And commodities like these need a lot of water.  According to Mother Jones, one almond needs more than a gallon of water, one walnut needs almost 5 gallons of water and a head of broccoli needs nearly 5.5 gallons.

Professor Timothy Richards of Arizona State University estimates this will translate into higher prices for consumers.  He says to expect the biggest percentage jumps in prices for avocados and lettuce -- 28% and 34% respectively.  But he says the most vulnerable crops are those that use the most water and simply won't be grown, and those sensitive to reductions in irrigation.

With the summer heat on the horizon, California has named May "Save Our Water" month as it continues to struggle with climate change and conservation.  In New York, I'm Brittany Umar for TheStreet.

-- Written by Brittany Umar in New York.

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DOW 17,279.74 +13.75 0.08%
S&P 500 2,010.40 -0.96 -0.05%
NASDAQ 4,579.7890 -13.6380 -0.30%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs