ISLAMABAD/NEW DELHI: Pakistan would treat it as “an act of war” if India revoked the Indus Water Treaty regulating river flows between the two nations, Pakistan’s top foreign official said on Tuesday.
Tension has been mounting between the nuclear-armed neighbours since at least 18 Indian soldiers in the disputed Kashmir region were killed this month in an attack that New Delhi blames on Pakistan. Continue reading
Tag Archives: agriculture
California of the Dark Ages
I recently took a few road trips longitudinally and latitudinally across California. The state bears little to no resemblance to what I was born into. In a word, it is now a medieval place of lords and peasants—and few in between. Or rather, as I gazed out on the California Aqueduct, the Golden Gate Bridge and the San Luis Reservoir, I realized we are like the hapless, squatter Greeks of the Dark Ages, who could not figure out who those mythical Mycenaean lords were that built huge projects still standing in their midst, long after Lord Ajax and King Odysseus disappeared into exaggeration and myth. Henry Huntington built the entire Big Creek Hydroelectric Project in the time it took our generation to go to three hearings on a proposed dam.
For all practical purposes, there are no more viable 40-acre to 150-acre family farms. You can sense their absence in a variety of subtle ways. Tractors are much bigger, because smaller plots are now combined into latifundia, and rows of trees and vines become longer. Rural houses are now homes to farm managers and renters, not farms families. One never sees families pruning or tying vines together as was common in the 1960s. I haven’t seen an owner of a farm on a tractor in over a decade. Continue reading
Saudi Arabia buying up farmland in US Southwest
Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf countries are scooping up farmland in drought-afflicted regions of the U.S. Southwest, and that has some people in California and Arizona seeing red.
Saudi Arabia grows alfalfa hay in both states for shipment back to its domestic dairy herds. In another real-life example of the world’s interconnected economy, the Saudis increasingly look to produce animal feed overseas in order to save water in their own territory, most of which is desert.
Privately held Fondomonte California on Sunday announced that it bought 1,790 acres of farmland in Blythe, California — an agricultural town along the Colorado River — for nearly $32 million. Two years ago, Fondomont’s parent company, Saudi food giant Almarai, purchased another 10,000 acres of farmland about 50 miles away in Vicksburg, Arizona, for around $48 million.
But not everyone likes the trend. The alfalfa exports are tantamount to “exporting water,” because in Saudi Arabia, “they have decided that it’s better to bring feed in rather than to empty their water reserves,” said Keith Murfield, CEO of United Dairymen of Arizona, a Tempe-based dairy cooperative whose members also buy alfalfa. “This will continue unless there’s regulations put on it.”
In a statement announcing the California farmland purchase, the Saudi company said the deal “forms part of Almarai’s continuous efforts to improve and secure its supply of the highest quality alfalfa hay from outside the (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) to support its dairy business. It is also in line with the Saudi government direction toward conserving local resources.”
“We’re not getting oil for free, so why are we giving our water away for free?” asked La Paz County Board of Supervisors Chairman Holly Irwin, who represents a rural area in western Arizona where food companies affiliated with the Saudis and the United Arab Emirates have come to farm alfalfa for export.
Added Irwin, “We’re letting them come over here and use up our resources. It’s very frustrating for me, especially when I have residents telling me that their wells are going dry and they have to dig a lot deeper for water. It’s costly for them to drill new wells.”
Full article: Saudi Arabia buying up farmland in US Southwest (CNBC)
California’s Sierra Nevada snowpack shrinks to a 500-year low
The record-low Sierra Nevada snowpack was another indication of the severity of California’s drought, which is affecting everything from agriculture to hydropower generation.
California’s Sierra Nevada mountains haven’t had this little snowpack since the days of Christopher Columbus.
That’s the finding of a new study released Monday indicating this year the state has seen its lowest snowpack in 500 years, and climate change may cause greater water shortages in the already drought-stricken, wildfire-ravaged state. Continue reading
Surprise! US Has Zero Grain Reserves Since 2008
The drought in the American West is causing devastating consequences on US agriculture. With grain prices climbing steadily, some have proposed the reestablishment of a Strategic Grain Reserve to control costs, a program which was phased out entirely seven years ago.
Driving across any highway through the American heartland, you’re sure to see the horizon dotted by tall grain silos. Whether the classic, wooden variety which wouldn’t look out of place in an Edward Hopper painting, or the more modern, metallic version, the structures serve an important purpose. Silos preserve the excess harvest from earlier seasons to be used during more trying times in the future.
With the California drought potentially entering a fifth year, it may be beneficial to consider the concept on a more national scale, according to Frederick Kaufman’s article for the LA Times. Continue reading
Colorado river is collapsing ‘sooner than anyone thought’
(NaturalNews) Water resource experts have known for many years that current use of the Colorado River is not sustainable. Sixteen years of drought have made it clear that the river is overtaxed, and cannot indefinitely meet the demands of agriculture, hydroelectric generation, recreation and sustaining the populations of some of the fastest-growing cities in the nation.
This past spring was an unusually wet one, leading to higher-than-average runoff from river’s source in the Rocky Mountains. Yet even at atypically high levels, the river still ran dry before reaching its outlet at the Gulf of California.
All of which suggests that the elaborate water distribution system that sustains the cities and farms of the Southwest may be collapsing sooner than anyone expected. Continue reading
California’s water collapse means many citizens are living like third-world citizens with no running water
(NaturalNews) As California’s wealthier residents worry about keeping their swimming pools full and their lawns green, many of the state’s less fortunate are simply trying to figure out how to survive in communities that have no access to running water.
Thousands of Californians live in areas where local water supplies have either completely dried up or are contaminated by pesticides and other pollutants. In these ‘dry’ communities, many have been without direct access to clean water for the last two years and the number of people who have no running water in their homes is steadily growing.
In Tulare County alone, more than 5,000 people now have no access to drinkable water. Continue reading
Iowa farms devastated, impacts unknown as bird flu spreads
If this continues, along with the nation’s water shortage issues, expect famine-like conditions within the United States the next few years. It is getting that drastic. You’ll be seeing much higher prices in grocery stores soon. America is not untouchable.
DES MOINES | Iowa produces more eggs than any state in the country, and is ninth nationally in turkey production.
But both industries are being rocked by a relentless virus that is forcing farmers to destroy entire flocks. A highly pathogenic avian influenza — or bird flu — believed to be introduced by wild waterfowl such as ducks and geese has infected dozens of Iowa farms, causing the death and disposal of more than 20 million birds.
While some farmers cope with devastating losses, others are taking every precaution possible to prevent the disease’s spread, knowing full well it could all be in vain.
9 States Running Out of Water
For many states, the rainy season is over, and most of the Western United States is now locked into a fourth consecutive year of drought. The imminent dry summer is particularly foreboding for California, where more than 44% of land area is engulfed in an exceptional level of drought. This was the highest such share nationwide and the kind of water shortage seen only once a century.
According to a study by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), “Droughts in the U.S. Southwest and Central Plains during the last half of this century could be drier and longer than drought conditions seen in those regions in the last 1,000 years.” The likelihood of such a drought is 12%, NASA scientists estimated. Continue reading
Dry Wells Plague California as Drought Has Water Tables Plunging
Near California’s Success Lake, more than 1,000 water wells have failed. Farmers are spending $750,000 to drill 1,800 feet down to keep fields from going fallow. Makeshift showers have sprouted near the church parking lot.
“The conditions are like a third-world country,” said Andrew Lockman, a manager at the Office of Emergency Services in Tulare County, in the heart of the state’s agricultural Central Valley about 175 miles (282 kilometers) north of Los Angeles.
Israel, China launch joint task force for expanding ties
Under recently launched Chinese-Israeli “Water City” project, 20 officials from the municipality of Shouguang are visiting the country this week to explore a variety of Israeli innovations across the sector, the Economy Ministry announced on Monday.
The trip to Israel follows Economy Minister Naftali Bennett’s November visit to China, during which Israeli and Chinese officials declared the eastern Chinese coastal city of Shouguang as the future hub – or “Water City” – for Israeli water activities in the Asian nation. At the time, the decision was made by Israeli and Chinese government officials that Israeli water technologies would be implemented on a commercial scale in Shouguang, serving as potentially adaptable models for other areas in China. Continue reading
Thailand Turns to China
…and now the U.S. loses another piece in Asia. After years and years of coups, Thailand looks to be finally going under the Chinese umbrella protectorate.
With a post-coup cooling of relations with the West, Bangkok is looking to its largest trading partner.
Thailand’s ruling junta is boosting ties with China as it seeks to reverse sluggish growth in Southeast Asia’s second largest economy following a coup earlier this year that complicated its ties with the West.
On Friday, Thailand welcomed Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, the most prominent foreign leader to visit the country since the military seized power on May 22. Li was to attend a two-day regional summit on the Mekong river being held in Bangkok.
Egypt to ‘escalate’ Ethiopian dam dispute
In the three years since construction began on the 1.8km Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam across the Blue Nile River, Egypt and Ethiopia have been engaged in a war of words over its potential impacts.
Ethiopia believes the massive dam will herald an era of prosperity, spurring growth and attracting foreign currency with the export of power to neighbouring countries. But Egypt has raised concerns about the downstream effects, as the Blue Nile supplies the Nile with about 85 percent of its water. Continue reading
China Seeks Weaker Export Controls on Military Equipment
The Clintons helped the Chinese modernize and eventually become on par with American military might, whereas the Obamas will aid them in surpassing American military might. The USA is in grave danger but sadly most Americans are too busy worrying about how their favorite NFL team will perform next Sunday afternoon.
Rep. Frank Wolf (R., Va.) seems to have finally awakened from his sleep to the threat within this case, but is still only “surprised” — yet doesn’t know this has been going on for decades.
Additional sources on the Clinton-China connection:
China asks Obama administration to loosen controls on exports of high-tech military goods and lift all sanctions
China has supplied the Obama administration with a detailed list of space, military, and defense technology controls that it wants changed, and an interagency review is underway to meet some of Beijing’s demands, according to U.S. officials.
The Chinese government list of U.S. defense and dual-use civilian-military trade controls and policy changes was sent recently to the Commerce Department in preparation for an upcoming meeting of the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT).
The request includes lifting all sanctions imposed by Congress after the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre; permitting transfers of 15 Black Hawk engines for helicopters sold in the 1980s prior to those sanctions; and the lifting of U.S. sanctions on five Chinese companies involved in past illicit arms sales to Iran, and other rogue states, according to officials familiar with internal reports. Continue reading
Canadian scientists perplexed why researcher would try to smuggle readily available pathogen to China
Another day, another Chinese theft of intellectual property.
OTTAWA — Scientists familiar with contagions are scratching their heads over the arrest of a former federal government researcher who was allegedly trying to smuggle bacteria into China.
Klaus Nielsen, a former lead researcher with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, faces charges in what police say was a scheme to illegally commercialize a testing device for Brucella bacteria. Continue reading