I am in Europe ahead of the May elections as the crisis begins to build. It appears that the powers that be may be talking about Global Warming to justify more taxes, but behind the curtain, these freezing winters are having their impact. The potato crop in Germany has hit a historic low due to the severe summer drought. Continue reading →
A communal tap runs as people collect water in an informal settlement near Cape Town, South Africa, Jan. 23. While the city urges people to restrict water usage, many living in poor areas already have limited access to water, and the day that the city runs out of water, ominously known as \”Day Zero,\” moves ever closer for the nearly 4 million residents. (AP Photo)
—Earlier this year, the South African city of Cape Town was told that it would make history by April 16. On that date, dubbed Day Zero, it was expected to become the world’s first major city to run out of water because of an extended drought. More than 1 million households would face extreme rationing or no water at all as reservoirs went dry.
But then something happened. The date was pushed back to June 4. And this week, Day Zero was set for July 9. Continue reading →
Any thoughts/comments regarding the impending water shortage in Capetown? As a person who has much historical knowledge, are you aware of a major city such as Capetown ever running out of water? Or is this truly a historical first? Continue reading →
Last August we questioned whether California farmland was overvalued by $70 billion (see our aptly named post: “Is California Farmland Overvalued By $70 Billion?“). Our reasoning was fairly simple, as we argued such a draconian outcome was the inevitable result of large institutional buyers scooping up 1,000s of acres of Cali farmland and massively overplanting almonds because, at least at the time, it was the hottest crop earning the highest returns…and that’s what NYC hot money likes.Continue reading →
Yurok Tribe Press Release, Mar 24, 2017 (emphasis added): The Yurok Tribe is bracing for the far-reaching economic, cultural, and social challenges created by what is expected to be the most catastrophic fisheries collapse in the Klamath River’s history. The number of fall Chinook salmon predicted to return… is the lowest on record… This unprecedented fisheries crash will have real consequences for the Yurok people… “This is a nightmare. I have never in my life dreamed that it could get this bad,” said Thomas P. O’Rourke Sr., Chairman of the Yurok Tribe… The bleak 2017 forecast is linked to a three-punch combination, comprised of two straight years of extremely elevated juvenile fish disease levels, diminished river conditions and poor ocean health… “We are in crisis mode… [this is] the most terrible fisheries disaster in the Tribe’s history,” said Chairman O’Rourke. Continue reading →
Houseboats at Bidwell Canyon Marina drop with the water level in Lake Oroville, California. Photo: Tribune
Under the Governor’s executive order on Monday, emergency drought regulations, such as bans on hosing down driveways or watering lawns within 48 hours of a rainstorm, will remain indefinitely.
Urban water suppliers will be required to report their water use to the state each month and develop plans to get through long periods of drought.
Despite winter rains that replenished reservoirs and eased dry conditions in parts of northern California, the Governor suggested the drought may never entirely end, and that the state needed to adapt to life with less water. Continue reading →
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 →
Nationwide analysis shows depletion of groundwater widespread and worsening
SUBLETTE, Kansas – Just before 3 a.m., Jay Garetson’s phone buzzed on the bedside table. He picked it up and read the text: “Low Pressure Alert.”
He felt a jolt of stress and his chest tightened. He dreaded what that automated message probably meant: With the water table dropping, another well on his family’s farm was starting to suck air.
The Garetson family has been farming in the plains of southwestern Kansas for four generations, since 1902. Now they face a hard reality. The groundwater they depend on is disappearing. Their fields could wither. Their farm might not survive for the next generation.
More than 500 feet (150 meters) deep in places and with narrow side canyons, the shoreline of the lake is longer than the entire West Coast of the United States. It extends upstream into Utah from Arizona’s Glen Canyon Dam and provides water for Nevada, Arizona and California.
But a severe drought in recent years, combined with the tapping of the lake’s water at what many consider to be an unsustainable level, has reduced its levels to only about 42 percent of its capacity, according to the U.S. space agency NASA. Continue reading →
THE carcasses of salmon, trout and more than a dozen other newly extinct native species lie in dry streambeds around California.
Exhausted firefighters in the Sierra Nevada battle some of the biggest wildfires they’ve ever seen. And in Central Valley farm towns, more and more parents hear the squeal of empty pipes when they turn on water taps to cook dinner.
A new report by the Public Policy Institute of California non-profit think-tank paints that distressing picture of California for the next two years if the state’s driest four years on record stretches further into the future. Continue reading →
FRESNO, Calif. — Vast areas of California’s Central Valley are sinking faster than in the past as massive amounts of groundwater are pumped during the historic drought, NASA said in new research released Wednesday.
The research shows that in some places the ground is sinking nearly two inches each month, putting infrastructure on the surface at growing risk of damage. Continue reading →
(NaturalNews) As California’s drought worsens and the availability of potable water continues to decline quickly, regulators in the state have become increasingly strict in imposing rules and fines in order to conserve what water remains.
To do so, state drought regulators have gone to the extreme in recent days, proposing a first-of-its-kind fine of $1.5 million on a group of farmers they insist took water illegally. Continue reading →
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 →
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — State contractors have readied plans to acquire as many as 300 farms in the California delta by eminent domain to make room for a pair of massive, still-unapproved water tunnels proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown, according to documents obtained by opponents of the tunnels.
Farmers whose parcels were listed and mapped in the 160-page property-acquisition plan expressed dismay at the advanced planning for the project, which would build 30-mile-long tunnels in the delta formed by the San Joaquin and Sacramento rivers.
“What really shocks is we’re fighting this and we’re hoping to win,” said Richard Elliot, who grows cherries, pears and other crops on delta land farmed by his family since the 1860s. “To find out they’re sitting in a room figuring out this eminent domain makes it sound like they’re going to bully us … and take what they want.” Continue reading →
(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 →