Should this California drought persist much longer, there will suddenly be a turning point where severely affected residents will reach an “oh shit” moment when they realize that the water is gone and they need to get out…
The state of California is facing a Water Collapse – not just a water shortage.
Much of (esp. Southern) California is a desert (or near desert) region, and people ‘exist’ there artificially. Literally, NO ONE (except experienced desert dwellers) could live in most of these regions which now occupy tens of millions! Why is it that these people think (don’t think) that a naturally occurring severe drought might actually happen in their lifetime (newsflash: it’s happening), which in turn could cause a mass migration exodus or worse – death? Answer: “Normalcy Bias”.
Other than the air you breathe (without which you would not survive beyond a few moments), WATER is a most precious resource (without which you would not survive beyond several days).
The governor of California has just issued mandatory 25% water restrictions (among other water restrictions) while at nearly the same time Jay Famiglietti, senior water scientist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory/Caltech , says that the state has about one year left of water stored in its reservoirs, and their strategic backup supply, groundwater, is rapidly disappearing.
How many of the millions of California residents have no clue as to the potentially impending catastrophe that awaits them?
How many residents are just figuring “This drought will be over soon – They have come and gone before – We will get a very rainy season next year and this will all be behind us”?
How many of them understand (or don’t understand) that they’re living in a TOTALLY UN-NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL ENVIRONMENT FOR THE EXISTENCE OF 10’S OF MILLIONS OF PEOPLE?
As California’s “wet” or so called “rainy” season ends, it is very clear that the miniscule rain and snowfall have done almost nothing to alleviate epic drought conditions. January was the driest in California since record-keeping began in 1895. Groundwater and snowpack levels are at all-time lows.
“Wells are running dry. In some areas of the Central Valley, the land is sinking by one foot or more per year.” (LA Times)
As they do every Spring in the Sierra’s of California, they measure the winter snow-pack depth which provides data for the expectations of their water reservoirs and runoff for farming. They just measured it… Snowpack levels across the entire Sierra Nevada are now the lowest in recorded history — just 6 percent of the long-term average. That shatters the previous low record on this date of 25 percent, set in 1977 and again last year.
The snow supplies roughly a third of all of California’s water, on average. The Sierra Nevada snow-pack is supposed to be a storage bank. It holds the snow late into the spring that then melts gradually. The runoff feeds reservoirs that supply water for millions — and the Central Valley. This year, California’s chief snow surveyor says, there may not even be runoff.
This year, the Central Valley Project, which decides where and when to release what water is left in California’s reservoirs, has already warned that most farmers downstream won’t get any water for the second straight year.
More than 400,000 acres of farmland were fallowed last year because of scarce water. Credible sources have estimated that figure could double this year. (Reported from KQED)
Groundwater reserves are getting lower and lower as farmers and towns drill deeper and deeper, sucking out more water than there is coming in.
It’s gotten so bad in the San Joaquin Valley that the ground is actually sinking. Last summer it sank a half-inch each month.
Throughout history (far before ‘man’ lived in these regions), severe drought cycles have ravaged the lands in desert places (and other ‘less than desert’ regions). It is absurd to think that ‘man’ can entirely overcome these cycles – particularly when these regions have been populated to staggering proportions. Most who live there do not even fully realize their dependence upon man-made systems which enable their existence. Mother Nature is now apparently having her way, regardless of man’s efforts, and if this severe drought goes on much longer, there will be a VERY BIG PROBLEM.
Seriously, consider it for a moment. IF this goes on for yet another year, and say, next year there is ongoing drought and no significant Sierra snow-pack yet again, what will happen when the state demands a 75% water restriction? How much time will that even buy? How much deeper will wells have to be drilled to still find any deep water? How much will that cost? What if even that begins to completely run dry (as it is already doing in some areas)?
There could conceivably come a point where these people need to get out. But how will they? How will this even be possible? Are tens of millions of people suddenly going to find jobs in other states? How will they afford to move? And where will they possibly move?
This situation could be a catastrophe in the making.
Maybe it’s time to get out while the “gettin ‘s good” and you can still sell your house…
On a similar note, you might find this article to be interesting,
The Total % Of Fresh Water Remaining On The Surface Of The Earth Is Shockingly Small