When faced with so much reality it’s hard to ignore the repercussions that join us in our world. I’m talking about the farmers caused drought, the wind and the wild fires. The epi-center for each one is the Island I live on, it’s in the middle of all of it. Any one of these topics have filled many long winded reports, speeches and yes books.
I am a conservationist, a conservative Democrat, yes some of us still exist. I care deeply for this planet and the abuses we continue to pile up on it. I’m 70 years old with more questions now than at any time in my life. I’m to the point where the questions starting with “Why and How” just don’t matter. it does;t matter why we are here, or how we got in this spot. All that matters is how we get out of it.
I am a student of the Western States droughts, I’m not an expert on the subject nor do I have any special knowledge. I have learned all I know about it from personal research, everything we want to know is in print and audio books. I don’t want to get into much detail about any one of them but the droughts, and the water wars are close cousins. It doesn’t take too long during investigation of the droughts to come to the conclusion that the farmers are their own worst enemies; they have created the immense lack of water in California and neighboring states. If farming in this state survives another 50 years it will take some sort of a miracle.
Wildfires are not a lot different, they are also human caused, all of the raking, sweeping and cleanup in the world will not solve that problem. I suspect the majority of them are started by arsonist. What isn’t is accidental human causes, natural causes and some by the Utility Company. I won’t speculate further, the same Government Agencies have been dealing with the fires for over 100 years. The definition of Insanity is the old sing song, “Doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results”. The same agencies have been battling them taught to do so by the generations of firefighter before them. Nothing ever changes, the more fires the more money they make; The fires are beginning earlier and lasting longer. More Arsonists are being arrested each year; we are caught in an endless loop of finger pointing and blame.
California has in use over 2000 dams, empty dams, with the Central Valley farmers screaming for more storage. Storage for what, air? There is no more water to be had, most of those dams are empty, it will take an abnormally intense amount of rain to fill even 1/2 of them. The aquifer under the farmers feet has been pumped so heartily a water well 50 years ago was under 1000 feet deep, now a well of over 2200 feet is common. Reaching deep into what remains of the aquifer they are now pumping water left by the inland sea over one million years ago. The water is brine, it’s salt water but not to worry crops tolerant to salt water are now being planted. Pistashios, Almonds and other nut trees require as much as 18 gallons of water to produce one Almond. On top of that nearly the entire crop each year is sent overseas because of the $4.00 per pound value. Along with the nuts and produce each load sends millions of gallons of water overseas the farmers get for virtually free; it’s the publics water mine and yours. What are the farmers doing right as this is being written? They are planting hundreds of acres of more nut trees without a thought of where the water is coming from. I’ll tell you from where, our faucets, they have run some towns out of water and must truck it in.
I could continue writing this article for a week scratching only the surface of what the Western States are facing. Is there a solution? I’m in the camp that believes there’s enough water for all of the states and cities involved. But there is a huge problem; in the State of California alone there are over 1100 water agencies clamoring for what each one declares is their God given rights to pump as much as they need. A good start would be to re-design the entire management system to one agency tasked with controlling the water from the 100th meridian West. The ground in places has sunk 30 feet, all of it being compressed hundreds of feet into the aquifer to never allow it to be recharged. We are out of water, soon the farmers will be out of hope; water as well.
Jacques Lebec Flutter Shutter