California drought and food supply

By now everyone with a TV or mobile device is aware of the challenges facing California due to the extensive drought. However, I’m not sure everyone in America understands how it affects them. As conditions worsen by the day, policy makers and local residents are actually arguing about protecting some rare fish instead of diverting water from reservoirs and canals to the agricultural regions that need it most. Additionally from my research only two new Desalinization plants are currently under construction at a hefty cost to tax payers. Why is it that Australia can figure it out and California cannot? Australia has the first wind powered desalinization plant.

Wind Powered Water

Wind Powered Water

Are coastal residents so ignorant that they would vote down an efficient wind turbine that would deliver all the clean water they could need for a lifetime simply because they think it’s unsightly and affects their ocean view? Priorities rarely seem to mesh with logic anytime emotion is at play.

California is one of the biggest suppliers of fruits, vegetables and nuts to the United States. In fact 82% of the world’s Almond supply comes from California. Expect prices to double at the very least. A recent report by industry expert stated the following. “The less obvious consequences of how climate change may affect the nation indirectly through shifts affecting the Southwest, given that Southwestern states produce more than half of specialty fruit, nuts and vegetables for the U.S., and more than half of the nation’s shipping container traffic comes in through the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. All of these conditions, particularly those in mid to Northern California, where a large percentage of U.S. food is produced, have implications far beyond the state. The drought’s effects will ripple far beyond the fields. Consumers can expect tighter supplies and higher prices for most fruits and vegetables by summer. And farm suppliers will feel the pinch. “We’re in the middle of what potentially is looking like a huge catastrophe,” said Ryan Jacobsen, chief executive of the Fresno County Farm Bureau. “We’re looking at some very harsh realities, as far as water allocations.”

Flushing toilets only once a day, as one member of the audience suggested, certainly does help, the panelists agreed, but efforts to cut back on residential water use only go so far given that “agriculture consumes almost 80 percent of the water in our region.” This has been a driver for the Aquaponic community since Aquaponics is very water wise and uses 90% less water than soil farming. Large commercial Aquaponic farms are being converted from soil farms in an attempt to stay alive. This drought is causing farmers to look for solutions and Aquaponics is a major solution. The drought causes a wide range of negative effects and the obvious ones are; loss of jobs, economic degradation, and significant property value decline. What is a house worth when nothing comes from the faucet?

Fire Danger Earlier in 2014.

“It’s unprecedented for us to do this in January,” said Battalion Chief Mike Giannini, whose Marin County Fire Department is one of the first to be called upon to send aid north. “We’ve sent crews this early in the year in the past to Southern California, because their fire season never seems to end,” Giannini said. “But not up there. Not to places like Humboldt, which has coastal, high-humidity, forested types of conditions we would normally equate with low fire danger.”

Together these spell problems for the nation’s largest state, 40 million people, and 4th largest economy in the world. Let’s hope and pray they get their priorities worked out and please let’s all pray for rain and a much needed summer El Nino`for all our sake.

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