Well, it ain’t in California, that’s for sure. For the first time since 1993 (15 years–that’s no so long) are cutting their water delivery levels to cities and farmers by an extreme amount. It is estimated that cities and farmers will get no more than 15% of the water they request. 15%? That is insane. I mean, I don’t know how much water is requested, but to not get 85% of it seems like a real problem, especially for the farmers.
I mean, cities are smelly places anyway, so brief showers, or showers every two or three days really isn’t going to hurt anybody. Yeah I know, we all like to smell nice, and we hate it when some stinky dude stands next to us and makes our eyes water, but whatever. That is a small price to pay to be able to drink the stuff we need to survive, use it to cook, and you know, grow food.
Without water, farmers face a variety of problems. The biggest (and most obvious) is that if they don’t have the water, they cannot grow crops. Plants need water to grow, simple as that. So farmers will not be able to grow as much food, which means that there will be less food available to California and the world, which will undoubtedly increase the amount of world hunger. So we are in the midst of a financial crisis, California is facing a drought and water crisis, and world hunger and starvation are approaching all time highs. Thins do not look good. I know the state of California cannot force it to rain and snow, though it would be nice if they could because then they wouldn’t have this problem. However, since they cannot control the weather, they should at least learn to control their water.
By that I mean (and I’ve said it before) California is no stranger to droughts. We were plagued by a series of them in the 80’s, and I’m sure they were a fact of life in Cali before that. And yet, year after year we are still faced with the prospect of water rationing and drought. There have been good years too, when water reserved exceeded averages, and everything was okay, but where is that water now? Gone. Why wasn’t some of it saved? I have no idea. It seems to me, though, that we should do like the Fremen in Dune did, and start creating water caches, lots of them, for times like these. I mean we have banks for our money, so why not have banks for our water. Sure, O’Shaughnessy Dam exists, and others too, but obviously these are not enough. It’s too late right now to start stockpiling the water, but at some point California needs to do just that, otherwise the whole state (or at least most of it) will end up looking like the Mojave desert, beautiful sure, but not what I want my state to look like:
But onto the other problems for farmers. Less water equals less food, but it also equals less jobs and money. Farmers hire field hands to help harvest, grow, plant (not in that order, obviously). If they are going to be growing less food, then they will not have a need for so many workers.
This means that those folks who were counting on their seasonal job as a field worker now have to look somewhere else for a source of income, and they can’t look to another farm. We are already in a time where unemployment is skyrocketing, and the dollar’s buying power is steadily declining. And now, people are losing their jobs because the state of California is irresponsible with its water. Again, I do not blame the state for the drought, but I do blame them for not recognizing the drought cycle and trying to do something about it. It is a cycle, which means that sooner or later it will come back around again, and our leaders should be smart enought to recognize this and take action.
And of course, with less jobs and less food being sold, there will be less money for the farmers, which in a time when there already is a shortage of money could be catastrophic. Farmers (both owners and workers) might not be able to pay their bills, maintain their equipment, or feed their families. This is a bad situation that could get worse real fast. And if people can’t come to California for work (like they did during the Great Depression of the 1930’s) where can they go?
All is not hopeless of course. We are just entering the winter season, and it is possible that there will be enough rain and snow to allow farmers and cities to get more than 15% of their requested water. I hope this is the case, and I also hope that the state will take some kind of meaningful action to help avoid such water rationing in the future.