Water in California

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Sydde, Feb 27, 2015.

  1. Sydde macrumors 68020

    Sydde

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    #1
    California is experiencing a major drought that threatens the viability of its huge agricultural industry.

    Except, maybe it is not. This site claims that the drought is a farce, that the water shortage is way overblown, there is lots of water, they are just wasting it on frivolous crops like almonds and avocados. To me, the numbers presented here look like tremendously simplified raw totals that are leaving out something important, but I could be wrong.

    Meanwhile, another site, on the opposite end of the political spectrum, also says there is no drought, not because California has lots of water, but because much of the state, especially the Central Valleys, is a natural desert that has only been in an unusually wet period for the past century or two and is now reverting to its normal climate. If this is the case, it is kind of ironic, because this is exactly what created the emigration of the "Okies" 85 years ago, farming a land that would normally be a desert, until the natural cycle made their farms untenable.

    Both sides here seem to be critical of big agribusiness, of growing unsuitable crops. But California's economy will suffer tremendously from a major failure of the ag sector. This promises to be a rather bad pass, perhaps catastrophic. Are the state, the region, the nation prepared to deal with this in a sensible way, or will we all just go into damage-control mode?
     
  2. citizenzen macrumors 65816

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  3. Don't panic macrumors 603

    Don't panic

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    #4
    well, the bottom line is that we need the food, and thus the water.

    eventually the answer is in cheap renewable energy and desalinization plants
     
  4. jkcerda Suspended

    jkcerda

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  5. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #6
    Bio ethanol.
     
  6. Sydde thread starter macrumors 68020

    Sydde

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    #7
    Almonds require far more water than the Central Valley can normally provide. They seem to be a tropical jungle plant, not a desert plant. The ground has been subsiding because of how much they have been drawing out of the aquifers to sustain those trees. Citrus, I think, is another crop that requires a lot of water, and I have seen section upon section of oranges growing there. Also, I believe they grow a lot of truck, things like lettuce and cucumbers do not belong there.

    The land is nice and flat, easy to farm, but the local climate does not look like it can support this level of cultivation over the long term.
     
  7. jkcerda Suspended

    jkcerda

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    #8
    Thanks Sydde.

    Area that I am in also used to have plenty of citrus crops. I'll check your links later
     
  8. MacNut macrumors Core

    MacNut

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    #9
    We have a **** ton of snow here in the northeast, if they want to build a pipeline to the west coast we could solve your water issues.
     
  9. citizenzen macrumors 65816

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    #10
    They'll just steal it from us Northern Californians.
     
  10. Wild-Bill macrumors 68030

    Wild-Bill

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    #11
    Hogwash. Didn't you hear? Sen. Jim Inhofe brought a snowball into Senate chambers and, after making a short proclaimation, threw it, thereby proving "global warming" is a hoax. :p
     
  11. bradl macrumors 68040

    bradl

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    #12
    Another thing to think about.

    I was a bit naive when it came to agriculture in California until I moved here. But that is also attributed to being from the Midwest and knowing what comes from where in that area..

    .. not so on this side of the country. Pretty much, it boils down to this: Dairy.

    East of the Rockies, it's safe to say that the bulk of the dairy (read: milk, butter, cheese) would come from the northern sections of the midwest; namely, MN, WI, IA, IL, give/take a few other states. Beef is all from the midwest, from ND down to TX.

    Then I saw this commercial on TV roughly 10 years ago with this as a slogan:

    That had me scratching my head, because there is a dairy in my hometown, and all over the place in IA, MN, and WI. Then I figured it out.

    On the western side of the Rockies, it all comes from CA. All crops. All beef, pork, dairy; all from California (again, give/take a couple of states), and the Central Valley region at that. So that's a lot of land use for different purposes, all also requiring water from the same limited sources available. That isn't sustainable, at least over a long period of time.

    I joked with my wife (we have friends in MA) that they should take all of the snow they just got socked with, put it in refrigerable containers, fly it over the Sierras, and just drop it, as that would definitely help with the drought. But without water to sustain that, land for grazing will wither, meaning livestock won't have the means to sustain milk production, let alone meat, putting further strain on stocks in the midwest. Getting those supplies to market will cost more, meaning prices skyrocket.

    One thing can definitely be said; those conspiracy theorists who don't believe there is a drought going on, aren't thinking economically, or will start to when it is too late (when they see that milk goes up $5/gallon from what it currently is now).

    BL.
     
  12. Sydde thread starter macrumors 68020

    Sydde

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    #13
    That is far from realistic. The PNW has plenty of that kind of ag going on. In fact, the best cheese in the country comes from an area on the upper Oregon coast. California may be feeding itself, more or less, but a lot of staples are grown in other nearby states.
     
  13. bradl macrumors 68040

    bradl

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    #14
    All the reason why I said "give/take a couple of states". I know that Ag is part of other states' economies in the region, but the bulk of it for this area is in the Central Valley..

    BL.
     
  14. kds1 Suspended

    kds1

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    #15
    Tillamook, but the drought in California is as real as you can get. Whoever thinks it's some kind of conspiracy is a nutcase. My family lives in NorCal, and the nearby resevoir lake is the lowest it's been in well...forever. It's fed from melted snow that flows down from the Sierra. Ther's just no snow in the Sierra. Glad to see I wasn't the only one thinking about Boston snow being shipped out to California in refrigerated cars. If only something like that really were possible.

    ----------

    It's not all from the Central Valley, it's also from the Salinas Valley. Not a lot of agriculture going on it Nevada or Arizona (deserts), but lots in Oregon and Washington.

    ----------

    Desalinization will have to become more prominent. If only they could replace places like Diablo Canyon and San Onofre with desalinization.
     
  15. ThisIsNotMe macrumors 68000

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    #16
    If the progressives didn't make up science to get the delta pumps turned off, this wouldn't as much of an issue as it is.
     
  16. bradl macrumors 68040

    bradl

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    #17
    Two words: Delta Smelt.

    BL.
     
  17. mrkramer macrumors 603

    mrkramer

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    #18
    The water issues might be delayed by a year or so if the drought continues, but even if it didn't continue and we suddenly start getting a lot of rain in California there are other issues that would arise from destroying the ecosystems in the delta.
     
  18. kds1 Suspended

    kds1

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    #19
    You have no idea what you are talking about.
     
  19. aaronvan Suspended

    aaronvan

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    #20
    Good idea. Water trains are dangerous.
     
  20. jnpy!$4g3cwk macrumors 65816

    jnpy!$4g3cwk

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    #21
    Just so we get this straight, almonds and avocados are not frivolous, they are highly nutritional crops that are much more useful to me than, say, corn.

    That said, I think that the way water rights currently work is bad, and encourages uneconomic allocation of water. All the more annoying when supplied by large projects that are paid for by the public. I see no reason why John Q. Public has to pay taxes to make big agribusiness owners rich.

    But, don't touch my almonds and avocados.

    They are right, up to a point. Most of the areas where the food is grown are arid. That is why they use irrigation.

    One more important point -- dams have really screwed up Salmon and Steelhead fisheries up and down the West Coast, those fish are also extremely valuable, but, the fisheries are mostly destroyed. There has to be a better way to engage in agriculture and yet preserve fisheries.
     
  21. steve knight macrumors 68020

    steve knight

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    #22
    but when it bursts and all that clean water gets into the normal polluted water how will we clean it up?
     
  22. MacNut macrumors Core

    MacNut

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    #23
    Im sure they can set up booms to stop the flow of the clean water from getting into the drinking system. You have to worry about those fish full of mercury getting clean water into their systems killing them.
     
  23. VulchR macrumors 68020

    VulchR

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    #24
    We have plenty of water in Scotland. I am sure we could spare some nice, clean highland water for California ... at a price. :p

    EDIT: Seriously, though, irrigation concentrates minerals in the soil and eventually can make it impossible to grow crops in. I thought that this was already happening in California, so even if the water does come back, farming might have a limited period in California.
     
  24. aaronvan Suspended

    aaronvan

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    #25
    Clean? That loch water is murky as hell and full of monster poop. :D
     

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