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.
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
(NaturalNews) Is California turning back into a desert? Perhaps, but that’s just one of many reasons why it is becoming less and less desirable to live there.
As most Americans know, the Golden State is in the throes of one of the worst droughts in California history. As reported by Bloomberg News, some farmers are resorting to desperate – and expensive – measures just to keep their fields from evaporating into dust:
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. 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
(NaturalNews) As California continues to bake in the throes of a historic, multi-year drought, concerns over the state’s remaining water supplies have risen dramatically.
State and local officials have been working in tandem to create conservative programs that, thus far, are having a mostly positive effect. Overall, the programs have seen water use throughout California generally decreasing – in some places by more than 30 percent.
But despite these efforts, a great deal of water is still being wasted or, as others point out, utilized for unproductive purposes, such as growing marijuana. Continue reading
MECCA, Calif. — Whenever her sons rush indoors after playing under the broiling desert sun, Guadalupe Rosales worries. They rarely heed her constant warning: Don’t drink the water. It’s not safe. The 8- and 10-year-olds stick their mouths under a kitchen faucet and gulp anyway.
There is arsenic in the groundwater feeding their community well at St. Anthony Trailer Park, 40 miles south of Palm Springs. In ordinary times, the concentration of naturally occurring arsenic is low, and the water safe to drink. But during California’s unrelenting drought, as municipalities join farmers in sucking larger quantities of water from the ground, the concentration of arsenic is becoming more potent. Continue reading
Things have never been this dry for this long in the recorded history of the state of California, and this has created an unprecedented water crisis. At this point, 1,900 wells have already gone completely dry in California, and some communities are not receiving any more water at all. As you read this article, 100 percent of the state is in some stage of drought, and there has been so little precipitation this year that some young children have never actually seen rain. This is already the worst multi-year drought in the history of the state of California, but this may only be just the beginning. Scientists tell us that the amount of rain that California received during the 20th century was highly unusual. In fact, they tell us that it was the wettest century for the state in at least 1000 years. Now that things are returning to “normal”, the state is completely and total unprepared for it. California has never experienced a water crisis of this magnitude, and other states in the western half of the nation are starting to really suffer as well. In the end, we could very well be headed for the worst water crisis this country has ever seen. Continue reading
(NaturalNews) Water shut-offs have now begun in California, where government-ordered restrictions are starting to leave large communities high and dry. As CBS News is now reporting, the Mountain House community of 15,000 residents will run out of water in just a matter of days.
“The community’s sole source of water, the Byron-Bethany Irrigation District, was one of 114 senior water rights holders cut off by a curtailment notice from the state on Friday,” reports CBS.
And just like that, the property values of millions of dollars worth of homes belonging to 15,000 residents nosedives toward zero. Continue reading
MOUNTAIN HOUSE (CBS13) — The community of Mountain House is days away from having no water at all after the state cut off its only water source.
Anthony Gordon saves drinking water just in case, even though he never thought it would come to this.
“My wife thinks I’m nuts. I have like 500 gallons of drinking water stored in my home,” he said. Continue reading
For the first time in nearly 40 years, state regulators are telling more than 100 growers and irrigation districts with some of the oldest water rights in California that they have to stop drawing supplies from drought-starved rivers and streams in the Central Valley.
The curtailment order, issued Friday by the State Water Resources Control Board, has been expected for weeks. Earlier this spring, the board halted diversions under some 8,700 junior rights. With snowmelt reduced to a trickle this year, there simply isn’t enough water flowing in rivers to meet the demand of all those with even older rights predating 1914.
And as flows continue to decline this summer, board officials said, they expect to issue more curtailments, stopping river pumping by more senior diverters. Continue reading
What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas… apart from the water. As the following interactive chart from ProPublica shows, water usage in the greater Las Vegas region has more than doubled in the last 40 years and with the drought conditions, every reservoir is near record lows. Welcome To Las Vegas (while water supplies last).
Vegas Water History
1905 The Las Vegas Land and Water Company is formed to build and operate groundwater wells which the city then depended on for decades.
1922 The seven basin states sign the Colorado River Compact, estimating the river’s annual supply at 18 million acre-feet of water and dividing 15 million acre-feet between the northern and southern states. The river would eventually prove to flow with just 14.8 million acre-feet a year. Continue reading
The state of California is sinking by up to 2 feet per year according to an article published yesterday by the Center for Investigative Reporting, known as Reveal.
Please see the source for the video as it’s incompatible with posting here.
A fourth summer of drought and one that’s been described as exceptional severity is putting California through the harshest drought anyone can remember and raising fears that the state’s ancient aquifers could disappear for good.
LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: Like Australia, California’s no stranger to drought. It’s in the middle of one right now that’s as harsh as anyone can remember.
Yet unlike here, California’s government has been slow to take action. Water restrictions were only announced last month, for example. That doesn’t apply, though, to underground aquifers and they’re being emptied at an alarming rate, as North America correspondent Ben Knight reports.
BEN KNIGHT, REPORTER: In the richest state in the richest country in the world, East Porterville, California, is a town without water.
DONNA JOHNSON, VOLUNTEER: It’s like having a slow-growing cancer. It’s very, very stressful.
This house right here: she had some rentals. One of them is over there and she doesn’t have any water either and her rental doesn’t have any water. Continue reading
Less water, less electricity
California isn’t the only one having a water crisis. Yesterday, Lake Mead sank to its lowest level yet. The watery behemoth created by the construction of the Hoover Dam in the 1930s was reduced to a mere 1,080.07 feet above sea level, minimally smaller than the previous record of 1,080.19 set last August. Continue reading