Sticker shock: California drought could leave Arizona high and dry

You could be in for some sticker shock the next time you head to the market as the price of groceries may be going up.

Blame it on the drought in California -- growers are paying more for water and that could leave Arizona high and dry.

It's no secret California produces most of the country's fruits and vegetables and the Golden State faces the worst drought on record.

On Arizona State University professor says according to his research, expect the drought to drain your wallet.

"It's probably going to get worse before it gets better," stated ASU Professor Timothy Richards, who says his study shows as California's drought continues, produce prices are on the rise.  He predicts a five to 10 percent price increase for California produce.

"Just by consuming California products, we consume 300 gallons of water per week per individual."

Richards says expect an increase for crops rooted in California.  Strawberries and berries, but mostly in nuts, like almonds.

There are all types of almonds at your local grocery store. You can get them covered in chocolate or even roasted, but one thing these all have in common: they come from California.  80 percent of the world's almond supply comes from the Golden State.

"It's either get them from California or do without sort of thing, so almonds are the biggest price we expect this year.. eight or nine percent," said Richards.

Richards says his initial study last year had avocado prices jumping up to 35 cents more, but that didn't happen because he says retailers turned to other countries like Chile and Mexico for cheaper produce.

Growers in Arizona may also reap the rewards from California's drought, but when most U.S. fruits and vegetables come from the state. Richards says there's no denying that consumers across states are in the same boat.

"If we don't get more rain and don't get a better snow pack in the Sierras next year, we are looking at several years worth of high prices," he said.

Richards says any increase in food prices could drive up the prices of crops from other countries, specifically bananas. He says expect prices to go up five percent.



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