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date: 25 November 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The American West, the last region in the continental United States to be developed for extensive agriculture, is characterized by a wide range of biomes including arid, and semiarid regions, forest, and coastline. In its less water-rich places, this has forced the development of water supply infrastructure for agriculture and cities. The American West rapidly became an agricultural powerhouse to the United States and a major exporter of agricultural commodities in global economy. This chapter reviews agriculture in the western United States, followed by a short review of major western water issues for agriculture, including surface water shortages from drought and persistent groundwater overdraft. The California 2012–2016 drought is used as a case study to identify lessons for future food and fiber production in California, the western United States, and globally.

Keywords: California, drought, groundwater overdraft, American West, specialty crops, Colorado River

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