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California Drought Could Cost Agricultural Economy $1.7B, Leave Thousands Without Work

SACRAMENTO (CBS/AP) -- Researchers say California's drought could cost the state's agricultural economy $1.7 billion this year and leave more than 14,000 farmworkers without work.

The findings are contained in a preliminary study by the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences that was released on Monday. The study was done at the request of the California Department of Food and Agriculture and used computer models and recent water delivery figures to arrive at its conclusions.

It estimates 6 percent of farmland in the Central Valley could go unplanted because of cuts in water deliveries.

UC Davis' Jay Lund, co-author of the study, said the resulting economic damage shouldn't threaten California's overall economy. Agriculture makes up less than 3 percent of California's $1.9 trillion gross domestic product annually.

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