Author Topic: Drought emergency declared in California  (Read 49628 times)

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: Drought emergency declared in California
« Reply #90 on: March 23, 2015, 10:53:49 AM »
That's what I've always thought, too.

But, based on MM's posts, I'm starting to think it is the agriculture in the state that's not sustainable, at least with the present crops and methods. Especially if it's not that big of a contributor to the economy and farms can use water for pennies on the dollar.

According to google, in 2014 CA had a population of 38.3 million.  So just to sustain human life, let's say each resident consume 1 gallon per day.  In reality the agricultural and economic patterns result in many more gallons per person per day. 

You can do all sorts of math, and swap in a more sustainable AG practice that uses less water per capita.  No matter what is done, they really are more mitigation and not full solutions.

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Re: Drought emergency declared in California
« Reply #91 on: March 23, 2015, 11:25:15 AM »
But, based on MM's posts, I'm starting to think it is the agriculture in the state that's not sustainable, at least with the present crops and methods. Especially if it's not that big of a contributor to the economy and farms can use water for pennies on the dollar.

I'd say they are a contributor that would be hard to adjust for if we were to lose Califonia's ag capability.

http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/Statistics/

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California Agricultural Exports:
In 2013, California's agricultural exports amounted to $21.24 billion in value, representing a 15 percent increase over the previous year. In terms of value, California's top three agricultural exports are almonds, dairy and dairy products, and wine. California's share of total US Agricultural exports for 2013 was 14.7 percent or slightly more than the 13.1 percent share reported the previous year.

Quote
USDA/NASS Crop Year Report:
 In 2013, the most recent year for which a full crop year report is available, California's 76,400 farms and ranches received $46.4 billion for their output.

California's agricultural abundance includes more than 400 commodities. The state produces nearly half of US-grown fruits, nuts and vegetables. Across the nation, US consumers regularly purchase several crops produced solely in California.

Offline mountainmoma

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Re: Drought emergency declared in California
« Reply #92 on: March 23, 2015, 11:34:42 AM »
I'd say they are a contributor that would be hard to adjust for if we were to lose Califonia's ag capability.

http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/Statistics/

For sure.

But, it is inevitable. There can still be some exports, but the percentage now is too high.

Hopefully wont lose it all, which is why it would be better to see changes start now. Unfortunatelly, I dont see changes happening in the ag area here or in the other states to reduce this load.

If you magically kicked all the people out of CA, you would buy some time, but big ag is utterally destroying the central valley. So, long term, it cant keep up no matter what. It was a mess before this drought. Most people are going to stay, look up the clip I posted earlier on what the central valley was right before the gold rush. Look at it now, think about it. We are creating the great central California desert, I would think plus or minus the 200 year mark of messing with it will be it for the present scale of extraction.

We have to grow more food everywhere in sustainable ways, get started. Be an exmple. Learn what works in your areas, for your water/climate.

Offline FreeLancer

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Re: Drought emergency declared in California
« Reply #93 on: March 23, 2015, 11:42:43 AM »
According to google, in 2014 CA had a population of 38.3 million.  So just to sustain human life, let's say each resident consume 1 gallon per day.  In reality the agricultural and economic patterns result in many more gallons per person per day. 

You can do all sorts of math, and swap in a more sustainable AG practice that uses less water per capita.  No matter what is done, they really are more mitigation and not full solutions.

You could kill off 32 million people in CA (10% of US population) and the current farming operations here are still going to deplete all the available water growing food for export.

Offline mountainmoma

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Re: Drought emergency declared in California
« Reply #94 on: March 23, 2015, 11:45:05 AM »
You could kill off 32 million people in CA (10% of US population) and the current farming operations here are still going to deplete all the available water growing food for export.

Exactly

Thank you Freelancer

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: Drought emergency declared in California
« Reply #95 on: March 23, 2015, 11:55:32 AM »
Unless CA is willing to radically change or stop it's AG exports, I don't see this changing.

This sounds like the old engineering joke:

The customer wants it done fast, done well, and done cheap. Now choose 2 of those 3.

Offline FreeLancer

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Re: Drought emergency declared in California
« Reply #96 on: March 23, 2015, 12:27:42 PM »
Weaning agriculture off the government dole isn't easy anywhere.  Whether it's ridiculously cheap water, tariffs on imports, or subsidies for not growing crops, farm welfare programs are hard to get rid of.  I don't think California is unique in that regard. It's almost unpatriotic to challenge "farmers" in this county.

Offline RitaRose1945

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Re: Drought emergency declared in California
« Reply #97 on: March 23, 2015, 07:27:26 PM »
Weaning agriculture off the government dole isn't easy anywhere.  Whether it's ridiculously cheap water, tariffs on imports, or subsidies for not growing crops, farm welfare programs are hard to get rid of.  I don't think California is unique in that regard. It's almost unpatriotic to challenge "farmers" in this county.

There are a few occupations that society has decided we are not allowed to speak ill of.  Farmers are one category that is basically protected, and if you say anything bad, you're basically considered unpatriotic.  Doesn't matter much that the independent farmer (whom I generally DO respect) is almost nonexistent now.  We still have to honor the simple farmer and his family, despite the fact that most are really just corporate employees these days.

Offline lettuceman

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Re: Drought emergency declared in California
« Reply #98 on: March 24, 2015, 05:57:14 AM »
There are a few occupations that society has decided we are not allowed to speak ill of.  Farmers are one category that is basically protected, and if you say anything bad, you're basically considered unpatriotic.  Doesn't matter much that the independent farmer (whom I generally DO respect) is almost nonexistent now.  We still have to honor the simple farmer and his family, despite the fact that most are really just corporate employees these days.


Well Stated.

Offline Black November

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Re: Drought emergency declared in California
« Reply #99 on: March 24, 2015, 04:14:31 PM »

Bonnieblue2A

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Re: Drought emergency declared in California
« Reply #100 on: April 01, 2015, 02:00:34 PM »
Gov. Brown uses executive orders for mandatory water restrictions.  The current order presently extends to February 28, 2016.

Executive order link:  http://documents.latimes.com/gov-jerry-browns-executive-order-drought/

LA Times article:
http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-snowpack-20150331-story.html#page=1


Offline Black November

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Re: Drought emergency declared in California
« Reply #101 on: April 01, 2015, 04:43:12 PM »
I highly doubt that the California gov will be able do anything short term to remedy the lack of water. However I'm willing to bet that they impose some sort of water tax to swindle people out of more money. If you can't fix a bad situation, you might as well find a way to make money off of it.

Offline FreeLancer

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Re: Drought emergency declared in California
« Reply #102 on: April 01, 2015, 05:08:31 PM »
It will be interesting to see if my water rates finally go up with this new mandate.

Last month I used 748 gallons per day and it only cost me $1.61 per day + $23 monthly utility fee. I basically use the my pool's volume of water every month and it costs me less than $70. That's not much financial motivation to conserve.

Offline Ms. Albatross

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Re: Drought emergency declared in California
« Reply #103 on: April 01, 2015, 07:52:39 PM »
I highly doubt that the California gov will be able do anything short term to remedy the lack of water. However I'm willing to bet that they impose some sort of water tax to swindle people out of more money. If you can't fix a bad situation, you might as well find a way to make money off of it.

THIS^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Offline David in MN

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Re: Drought emergency declared in California
« Reply #104 on: April 02, 2015, 08:05:50 AM »
They've still got golf courses out there, no?

I don't know to what extent agriculture controls the state politics but it seems to me from top to bottom there's a massive denial of this problem. But as long as the big money don't want change none will occur.

Maybe the state would be better off split into 2 or 3 states. It seems like different regions face different challenges.

Offline mountainmoma

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Re: Drought emergency declared in California
« Reply #105 on: April 02, 2015, 08:55:55 AM »
They've still got golf courses out there, no?

I don't know to what extent agriculture controls the state politics but it seems to me from top to bottom there's a massive denial of this problem. But as long as the big money don't want change none will occur.

Maybe the state would be better off split into 2 or 3 states. It seems like different regions face different challenges.

Division into separate states wont happen, the other regions take Northern CA water, but have a higher population density and out vote us.

Ag. and golf courses obviously have political clout. I don't understand why we hear nothing on the federal level about this, as you would think we should be encouraging more fruit and veggie production in other regions -- you would think that our farms bills would try to do this, but no. And, most of CA almonds, alfalfa (which use alot of water, not sure how much of the rice exports) is exported out of the country, to the far East, China.

By declaring an emergency, I think it means they can suspend other protections we insisted upon without regular due process  - but this is the part in his declaration that cant be interpreted without looking up a bunch of other laws. If you were to click on the link sited in a previous post by Gov. Brown and read the whole thing (I did) it does say that part of this suspension of process etc... is for "salt water intrusion barriers" in the Delta. This is East of San Francisco Bay, so Northern CA. I looked elsewhere to look up what this means. They are going to build quite a few little earthen/rock temporary dams here, where the fresh water meets the brackish, that they think will keep salt water intrusion from spreading too far back. This means they are going to just keep sending the River water south -- and hope this band aid holds from too much salt intrusion for local agriculture and household water -- both of which take local water from the Delta.

So, business as usual for ag. The only thing mentioned is that big Ag. now has to report water use to the state, and that the ground water stuff passed last year, which had a 25 year gradual implementation scheduale, is now bumped up and the local water districts get to take this new data the farms have to supply and come up with a plan by the end of THIS year, end of 2015. Maybe legally it just cant go any faster at this point as they have no data ? It is plausible that to suspend certain crops and exports they have to prove they are the ones using the ground water ?

But, I would think, if you can suspend all environmental protections to take more water than we all legally agreed to -- you would think that kind of emergency would also mean they could say no potable water at all to golf courses, and no out of country exportation of water hungery crops -- but no

When we talk of environmental damage, this isnt a delta smelt over people argument at all. The delta smelt is an indicator species. They are small and susceptible to salt levels etc.... so they were picked to indicate how badly we are messing up the entire SF bay ecosystem. They are easy to count and monitor, and the are a food source for many other bigger critters. But it isnt about them. If they are gone, the rest will die. That is the problem. When we kill entire large regional ecosystems, if/when we collapse them further, the systems we use for our own survival will follow. So, look at a map, the 2 largest CA rivers, Sacramento and SanJoaquin, going into the combined delta system into our largest bay, San Francisco Bay, is a huge thing we are killing. It provides, and provided even more in the past, a ton of human benefit and food. But, corporate farms need that water, to provide lower quality food for a relatively short amount of time, and then leave a desert. It hasnt even been 200 years we have farmed it, it will be fairly untenable by 200 years. So, we let and are letting corporations basically mine, like a strip mine, the soil and water. 200 years, done, and they will move on to destroy another area of the world.

My DIL, who works for a local water conservation nonprofit, just told me we are either the only California county, or one of very few, that doesn't either import or export water. And, agriculture is also a super large industry here. And, we use way, way less water per capita than elsewhere, even the lowest in the state. Maybe since we have no state or federal water subsidies and have to live within our means, we chose to conserve and not build our own desalintion plant (for home use). Agriculture has to be very careful as our farm land is right by the ocean and salt water intrusion happens and will ruin land if you pump out too much ground water, so if they want to keep farming it, they have to watch what they do.

Offline Russkie

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Re: Drought emergency declared in California
« Reply #106 on: April 02, 2015, 09:09:55 AM »
Does anyone have any experience or insight into how this affects firefighting in the state?

For wildfires, I can imagine that little to no rainfall makes the vegetation and forest a tinderbox, and the water levels would affect the air-dropped loads of liquid retardant.

For municipal firefighting, I'd think they'd be in a tight spot. You cant put it out without water, but the enormous amount needed probably isn't appreciated.

Offline mountainmoma

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Re: Drought emergency declared in California
« Reply #107 on: April 02, 2015, 09:11:35 AM »
from wikipedia

"...Alfalfa uses about 20% of California irrigation water, most of which is used as livestock feed. In 2012, California exported 575,000 tons of alfalfa to China, for $586 million.[14] Other common crop water use, if using all irrigated water - rice (despite its lack of water, California grows 550 billion pounds of rice per year, and is the second largest rice-growing state [15][16]);head of broccoli: 5.4 gallons; one walnut: 4.9 gallons; head of lettuce: 3.5 gallons; one tomato: 3.3 gallons; one almond 1.1 gallon; one pistachio: 0.75 gallon; one strawberry 0.4 gallon; one grape: 0.3 gallon. [17]..."

here, actually a good, short overview http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_in_California

Offline mountainmoma

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Re: Drought emergency declared in California
« Reply #108 on: April 02, 2015, 09:13:43 AM »
Does anyone have any experience or insight into how this affects firefighting in the state?

For wildfires, I can imagine that little to no rainfall makes the vegetation and forest a tinderbox, and the water levels would affect the air-dropped loads of liquid retardant.

For municipal firefighting, I'd think they'd be in a tight spot. You cant put it out without water, but the enormous amount needed probably isn't appreciated.

yeah, it is a dangerous fire year coming up/

Also, the drought kills and stresses trees.

The governer adressed this in his emergency stuff by saying that cal fire gets XX amount of money to educate the public about this

Offline FreeLancer

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Re: Drought emergency declared in California
« Reply #109 on: April 03, 2015, 03:27:00 AM »
Often our worst fire seasons come after unusually wet winters.

Offline mountainmoma

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Re: Drought emergency declared in California
« Reply #110 on: April 03, 2015, 06:41:11 AM »
Often our worst fire seasons come after unusually wet winters.

well, what is the fuel base in your area for them ? Is it quicker growing grass/bushes/shrubs ?

Up here, you can see the stress and dying of large forest trees. Our fuel loads ae absolutely drier and worse after the years of drought

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Re: Drought emergency declared in California
« Reply #111 on: April 03, 2015, 09:17:55 AM »
Last summer was ridiculously wet, but that left us with knee high dry grasses everywhere. Until we get to greenup, we're in trouble.  So far we've been lucky and had snow every 2-3 weeks, but if that pattern falls apart, we'll be burning. True, the trees are back to healthy fuel moistures, but that doesn't fix the carrier fuel speed and intensity.

Offline 16onRockandRoll

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Re: Drought emergency declared in California
« Reply #112 on: April 03, 2015, 12:49:26 PM »
yeah, it is a dangerous fire year coming up/

Also, the drought kills and stresses trees.

The governer adressed this in his emergency stuff by saying that cal fire gets XX amount of money to educate the public about this
The scary part is that the huge King Fire last year was set on purpose.  No amount of education on the dangers can stop the madness of an individual.

Offline Cedar

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Re: Drought emergency declared in California
« Reply #113 on: April 03, 2015, 01:05:34 PM »
My neighbor who hauls a semi load of bees down to the California almond orchards each year for decades, is not going this year. The almond farmer lost half his trees. And he is not watering the rest.

Cedar

Offline FreeLancer

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Re: Drought emergency declared in California
« Reply #114 on: April 03, 2015, 01:57:30 PM »
well, what is the fuel base in your area for them ? Is it quicker growing grass/bushes/shrubs ?

Our forested areas are between 5-10,000ft, but the majority of the wild land area is below that elevation and covered with fast growing vegetation.  Regardless of how much winter rain we get, everything is dry by the end of summer when the Santa Ana's start to blow.

Offline Cedar

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Re: Drought emergency declared in California
« Reply #115 on: April 04, 2015, 09:06:35 AM »
"California's oil and gas industry uses more than 2 million gallons of fresh water a day to produce oil through fracking, acidizing, and steam injections, according to environmental estimates. In 2014, California oil producers used up nearly 70 million gallons of water on fracking alone, state officials told Reuters on Thursday."

Fracking has not been on the mandatory water restrictions.

Cedar

Offline mountainmoma

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Re: Drought emergency declared in California
« Reply #116 on: April 04, 2015, 11:39:01 AM »
"California's oil and gas industry uses more than 2 million gallons of fresh water a day to produce oil through fracking, acidizing, and steam injections, according to environmental estimates. In 2014, California oil producers used up nearly 70 million gallons of water on fracking alone, state officials told Reuters on Thursday."

Fracking has not been on the mandatory water restrictions.

Cedar

I was just reading a local newspaper article about this yesterday. The takeaway is that 70million gallons a years is minimal percentage of the states use (according to the fracking industry) and that they would feel we make more money on it than food and it is just as important -- that is the industry view, and the politicians must agree. I live in a very anti-fracking area, so local viewpoints differ.

Offline David in MN

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Re: Drought emergency declared in California
« Reply #117 on: April 05, 2015, 07:36:27 AM »
Stephan Molyneux did a show about this on his freedomainradio feed. I don't always agree with him but found his argument on the reduced cost of water compelling. He claimed fresh water in CA was 1/5 the cost of water in Amsterdam letting Californians be rather wasteful. In addition the laws prevent the trade of water rights so the market is further distorted.

To be fair, as a liberty person I'm an easy sell that "the government fiddled with pricing so the market isn't working right". But it seems off that one can have a shortage on something that stays relatively inexpensive.

Offline RitaRose1945

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Bonnieblue2A

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Re: Drought emergency declared in California
« Reply #119 on: April 05, 2015, 01:41:08 PM »
Yet the pillaging by Nestle of water from aquifers near Sacramento continues:

Quote
Nestlé is draining California aquifers, from Sacramento alone taking 80 million gallons annually. Nestlé then sells the people's water back to them at great profit under many dozen brand names. 

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Meanwhile, Governor Jerry Brown continues to fast-track his Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) to build the peripheral tunnels to ship Sacramento River water to corporate agribusiness, Southern California water agencies, and oil companies conducting fracking operations. The $67 billion plan won’t create one single drop of new water, but it will take vast tracts of Delta farm land out of production under the guise of “habitat restoration” in order to irrigate drainage-impaired soil owned by corporate mega-growers on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley.

http://www.mintpressnews.com/nestle-continues-stealing-worlds-water-during-drought/203544/
« Last Edit: April 05, 2015, 01:47:31 PM by Bonnieblue2A »