The state of California made headlines this week as a rampant drought has pushed state officials to heavily reconsider water consumption. California’s drought and water supply crisis carries heavy economic implications, both state and nationwide (“Farm and Food Impacts”). If things don’t change soon, our nation may be looking at a very near, very unpleasant future. The quality of our lives and systems are reliant on the quality of our climate. For some of our industries, like ski mountains, technology can make up for undesirable weather. But unlike the ski mountain industry, where snow-producing technology can soften the burden, there’s no simple solution to agriculture succumbing from a lack of enough water. Water is essential to our survival, and so an unforgiving drought greatly affects our systems, quality of life, and hence economics. How implemented water regulations impacts people personally is intriguing, but an analysis on how it affects the state’s industries and planet as a whole proves more fruitful.
Just yesterday, Governor Jerry Brown decided that the state necessitated a mandatory order for 400 local water suppliers to reduce water usage by 25 percent (Nagourney). This may seem insignificant, until one realizes that these 400 suppliers provide water for 90% of California’s residents (Nagourney). That said, people aren’t going to have to worry about dying of thirst, or at least not at the moment. A large portion of water residents use in the state can be attributed to maintaining lawns (Nagourney). In the coming years, they may just need to be more conservative. People will simply have to be more mindful of the amount in which they consume daily, for their lawns, dishwashers, and even their showers. The quality of life for the people of California will be affected by water restrictions, and it’s significant enough to acknowledge. But one should be more concerned with the state’s industries and environment, which ultimately affects the nation.
A surprising amount of the nation’s agriculture depends on California, and the numbers are shocking (“Farm and Food Impacts”). California not only produces large quantities of wine for the country (in 2012, a sum of 22 billion in retail price)(“2012 Wine Sales in U.S. Reach New Record”), but provides 90% of our tomatoes, 95% of our broccoli, and a jaw-dropping 99% of our almonds (Farrell et al., 2015). If the drought in California does not end soon, America can expect a nationwide spike in the price of produce due to a painful blow to our supply. Interestingly, the press seems to be timid and reserved when expressing the cause of what analysts are calling a historic drought (Nagourney); beyond the lack of precipitation, nonexistent snowpack, and depleted ground water there lies a dark, sinister problem: climate change. You don’t have to be an avid environmentalist to see California’s drought and water crisis is a product of climate change. A comparison of California’s snowpack from January, 2013 to January, 2014 tells a troubling story.
California currently has quite the water dilemma, and as a nation, we may soon be learning the hard way that we are at the mercy of our environment. Those who remain optimistic may say these issues will serve as ample warnings, that we might just heed them in time, and ultimately we will be able to preserve our environment. If not, we’re in for some strange weather…
Farrell, Sean Patrick, Halperin, Carrie, & Prentke. “California’s Extreme Drought, Explained.” Online video clip. New York Times. New York Times 1 Apr. 2015. Web. 2 Apr. 2015
Frankel, Todd C. “California’s Water Woes Primed to Get Worse as Groundwater Is Drained.” Washington Post. The Washington Post, 02 Apr. 2015. Web. 02 Apr. 2015
Nagourney, Adam. “California Imposes First Mandatory Water Restrictions to Deal With Drought.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 01 Apr. 2015. Web. 01 Apr. 2015.
“The Wine Institute.” 2012 Wine Sales in U.S. Reach New Record: Record California Winegrape Crop to Meet Surging Demand –. N.p., 08 Apr. 2013. Web. 02 Apr. 2015.
“USDA ERS – California Drought 2014: Farm and Food Impacts.” USDA ERS – California Drought 2014: Farm and Food Impacts. N.p., 12 Sept. 2014. Web. 02 Apr. 2015.
“USDA ERS – California Drought 2014: Farm and Food Impacts: California Drought 2014: Farms.” USDA ERS – California Drought 2014: Farm and Food Impacts: California Drought 2014: Farms. N.p., 12 Sept. 2014. Web. 02 Apr. 2015.