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Yolo Subbasin Land Use Change

The figure below illustrates the growing popularity of perennial crops (citrus, subtropical, deciduous, and vine crops; seen in yellow) within the Subbasin over the past 25 years. 

Animation showing change in crop type between 1994 and 2021.
Agricultural land use within the Yolo Subbasin between 1994-1997, 2008, 2016, 2019, and 2021. The first image uses 1997 Yolo County data and 1994 Solano County data. Data obtained from CA DWR's land use surveys. 

The total number of perennial acres in the Subbasin has nearly tripled between 1997 and 2021. Of the 65,918 new acres, 12,735 acres (19.3%) were converted into new fields from non-agricultural land, representing an increase in overall water demand. The remaining 53,183 acres (80.7%) were converted from existing farmland.  Because perennial crops incur high initial investment costs and are more permanent installations, their demand is less flexible in times of drought. These 12,735 acres represent a hardening of demand in the basin, decreasing the amount to which water demand will respond to water availability.