DROUGHT CONTINUES TO PLAGUE CALIFORNIA

California’s drought moves into its third year with seventy-eight percent of the state being in “exceptional” or “extreme” drought conditions. Unfortunately, our spring showersDrought Apr 2015 were not enough to change our predicament.  There is a debate raging regarding the state’s water strategy.  While California’s population has doubled in the last thirty years, the state has not built or approved a single reservoir.  Conservation is clearly not enough.

CALIFORNIA’S DROUGHT HAS SIGNIFICANT AND LASTING AFFECTS

California’s Central Valley will bear the brunt of the $2.2B economic loss as a result of the drought. This year alone, 409,000 acres of farmland have gone fallow. If the drought continues, we can expect an additional 240,000 acres of fallowed farmland each of the next two years. The lost revenue to the region is staggering and will not affect only farmers but the entire state as one industry cannot experience such an economic hit without it rippling through the rest of the state and even neighboring states.

In recent weeks and months, farmers have been chastised for their use of groundwater. In their defense, please see the below graphic:

Rice Uses Less Water 002

CALIFORNIA’S DROUGHT CONTINUES

Where Does Your Food Come FromDespite recent “spring showers,” California is in a desperate drought. There are many rivers without adequate flow for young salmon to make their way to the ocean. The state is actually trucking these fish from their birthplaces up river to the delta so they can safely migrate out to sea. It is so despairing, farmers are pulling out trees because there is not enough water to support them…trees that take $1,000’s and $1,000’s to plant and years to grow. When rain does finally return to the state, it will be a long recovery for the entire nation. The attached graphic depicts the dependence on California grown nuts, fruits and vegetables.

California’s Water Problems

DeathValley.ai[5]California always has to chart its own course.  While the rest of the country is inundated with snow, ice, rain and freezing temperatures, California is basking in dry, warm weather…but, it’s not a good thing.  We are in a serious drought.

Warm temperatures in the state are breaking records established decades ago, or longer.  San Francisco, which normally registers about 55 degrees this time of year, was 73 degrees last week, breaking a record previously established in 1878.

Snow pack in the mountains, 8” at Donner Summit, has not been this low since 1946.  At .20”, it is the third driest January on record since 1850, and the reservoirs in the state are at dangerously low levels.  Take a look at these striking before and after photos (click here).

We highlight these disturbing statics because California grows the majority of the nation’s produce.  Here is a short list of commodities and the percentage grown in California:

Almonds – 100%                   Artichokes – 99%.                 Carrots – 67%

Bell Peppers – 50%              Cauliflower – 89%                Broccoli – 94%

Leaf Lettuce – 90%               Spinach – 83%                      Avocado – 95%

Peaches – 84%                      Strawberries – 88%              Plums – 97%