The California Drought

On Friday afternoon I was listening to Stephen Quinn, the host of the CBC radio show On the Coast discussing with a guest the ongoing California drought. The guest was a journalist who lives in California near Sacramento, the capital city of the state of California.

Quinn and his guest were talking about California Governor Jerry Brown’s press conference where state water boards were ordered to implement measures in cities and towns to cut water usage by 25%.

Aerial View of California Reservoirs
Aerial View of California Reservoirs

I captured the above photo of a southern California water reservoir on my recent trip to Los Angeles. I was shocked at how many of the reservoirs/lakes we flew over that contained a fraction of the water that they were designed to hold.

The California resident was describing the scene of Governor Jerry Brown’s press conference where there is normally 10 to 12 feet of snow on the ground. At the time of the press conference there there was no snow – just completely bare soil.

It is important to note that from April through until October California receives virtually zero rain. Zero.

That means that massive numbers of people and all the agriculture and businesses in California rely to a very significant degree on the water that is held in the reservoirs high up in the mountains above California cities.

Those reservoirs currently have a fraction of their normal amount of water in reserve. Some of them are at 30% or less. Those are the levels at the start of the dry season!!

The fact that there is no snow left in many of the mountains surrounding the reservoirs means that is the reservoirs contain the finite amount of water the people in California will have for the rest of this year probably until there is rainfall in October.

So when Stephen Quinn asked the California resident what it is like living with the water restrictions, I was somewhat shocked to hear the Californian say that one of the first things people did was to make sure that the sprinklers on their lawns were not spraying on the street. He added that this was tricky because most people have the sprinklers set to go on at 3am and nobody is awake at that time to check where the water spray is landing.

Okay, you are in YEAR FIVE of a serious drought and at the start you’ve got virtually no snowfall left to melt and you’ve got a fraction of the normal levels in your reservoir at the beginning of the year and you’re talking about sprinkling your lawn?

And then he talked about how people are trying to conserve water while washing their cars.

Seriously? People have lawns and wash their cars when the water reservoirs have only a fraction of the water that the city needs for the rest of the year? Seriously?

Hows serious can you be about conserving water if you have a green lawn in front of your home?

You may wonder why I care about this. I’ll tell you why you should care too.

Simply put, I care because I like to eat vegetables. And with the stupidity of our local governments much of our prime farmland in the Fraser Valley, including Richmond, Delta, Surrey, Langley, Abbotsford, Aldergrove has been converted to housing or warehouses.

Covering our local farmland with houses, warehouses or vast tracts of blueberry or cranberry fields means we need to import much of the fresh vegetables that we enjoy all year round.

California is essentially the salad bar that the rest of North America is eating from.

It looks like that salad bar is going through some serious changes.





2 responses to “The California Drought”

  1. thatsawrap Avatar

    The amount of water California ships to BC inside all the fruit and veggies we import from them is huge.
    Before long Californians will be asking for the water back (and more)…and they likely won’t say please.

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