Severe Drought Has U.S. West Fearing Worst


LOS ANGELES — The punishing drought that has swept California is now threatening the state’s drinking water supply.
With no sign of rain, 17 rural communities providing water to 40,000 people are in danger of running out within 60 to 120 days. State officials said that the number was likely to rise in the months ahead after the State Water Project, the main municipal water distribution system, announced on Friday that it did not have enough water to supplement the dwindling supplies of local agencies that provide water to an additional 25 million people. It is first time the project has turned off its spigot in its 54-year history.


I wonder when state officials will begin diverting water that is currently directed towards smelt population maintanence toward drinking water… Oh well… It’s a nice dream anyway.


if the state doesn’t preserve some water for wildlife and fish there will be a catastrophic die off that will harm California for generations to come. There is actually enough water for the people, but not enough for agriculture.

While LA is not a desert as the LAT describes it, the land cannot supply enough water for the population. LA is substantially exceeded carrying capacity of that issue and is now stealing resources from elsewhere.


It’s too bad we can’t even things out. Fort Wayne just had its snowiest January ever recorded. My subdivision has an inch of ice on the streets and we are expecting 6-10 inches of snow tomorrow. Any Californians willing to make the trip can have all the snow in my yard to take home–absolutely free.


There are consequences of perpetually returning governments who are only interested in the hot topic du jour.


Far less the smelts fault than the agribusiness growing things that have no business being grown in the arid climates of much of California.

It irks me no end that Wisconsin dairy farms (possibly the best natural climate for it on earth) can barely compete with California dairies that couldn’t exist without ridiculously subsidized federal water diversion projects. I know! Let’s spend billions to bring water to the desert to grow alfalfa so that the profitable WI farmers lose their butts and no longer pay any significant taxes to the federal coffers. GREAT idea! :rolleyes:

Western water right laws would make the Byzantine Empire’s royal court confused.




Big government does stupid things on behalf of the special interests that are willing to pay for the upkeep of that government.

That has been the basic conservative message since at least the time of Reagan, if not longer.
Unfortunately, virtually everybody wants government to pay for their own special interests, so government just keeps on getting bigger and stupider.:smiley:


I have lived in California for the past 41 years and for the last umpteen all I have heard is the drought by our State’s officials. Over those years they could have been building desalinization plants while we plebes were being asked to conserve. Well now we are in a real fix and what are they doing but asking us to cut back more and take water from those who provide food. Excuse me Lord, do we only have fools as leaders and no wise me. Let us all humble ourselves and get down on our knees and pray for rain and don’t complain if the Lord sends it in buckets. You can’t have it both ways. Also, Lord please send some wise State officials. Thank you. Charles


Building desal plants takes money and it is extremely expensive. Instead Angelenos could stop going with those lawns they love that suck up a ton of water.


Perhaps someone can make a compelling case for the western water projects, but I have not yet seen one.

The area in which I live was once famous for the quality and tastiness of its fruit, probably due to the combination of climate, sunshine and flinty soil. The western water projects (mainly) pretty much wiped the industry out except for strictly local consumption. The whole nature of the industry changed. Years ago, fully ripened fruit was speedily shipped to markets all over the country by nonstop rail, and consumers bought it the next day. (One of my aunts was a freight forwarder during that period, and directed trains everywhere) Now, most of it is half-ripened, chemically treated, rather sour and flavorless stuff that can be (and is) stored for a long time.

I’m not sure the society has gained very much. But again, maybe somebody can make the case for me that this country really needs to water western deserts. Yes, I know, you can’t raise strawberries in the Ozarks in January. But have you ever tasted frozen strawberry jam in January, made in May from fully-ripened berries? And what good is there really in eating a grainy, hard, flavorless strawberry or a dry toothbreaker of a nectarine in January anyway?

Oh well. They didn’t ask me. :shrug:


I can’t find it now but way back in the 1870s some scientist did a map of the West based on the water tables of each area and what kind of agriculture each could support. Of course it was ignored.

If gov’t policies were based on science all irrigation should stop immediately. The Midwest will be the next water-shortage victim – so much water has been sucked out of the ground for irrigating cornfields that the Great Lakes are shrinking.


I’m not sure I would agree with stopping ALL irrigation everywhere. If, say, someone irrigates from the Mississippi with water that would otherwise simply flow into the Gulf of Mexico, where’s the harm, particularly considering that rainfall in the Mississippi Valley would replace any water removed?

Where I live, it really isn’t the kind of country where you would raise row crops except in a very few places. It’s one of the five or six places on earth where there are deep limestone karst formations that hold an immense amount of water, like a huge reservoir. Our rainfall is about four feet/year, which keeps the formations well filled. The excess flows, eventually, into the Mississippi River and into the Gulf, and it flows year-round; more heavily in the spring when the formations are overfilled, less so in mid-summer when it can get very dry.

Personally, I have seen no one state any objectively demonstrable reason why the few crop farmers who irrigate here shouldn’t do so. Perhaps someone on here could provide that.


I get mine at the weekly farmers market (if I miss it there is another couple scattered around the week within 20 miles) and almost always it was picked in the prior 72 hours.

The Central Valley isn’t actually a desert.


Please take no offense, but 72 hours is a long time for a truly ripe strawberry.


It wasn’t that long ago that we in the Midwest were already in fear of that happening.

But that was before this winter hit. :slight_smile:


The Midwest bit is true. McHenry County, IL is only a couple counties west of Lake Michigan and they’ve done quite a bit of groundwater sustainable supply studies and determined that in portions of the county they’re already taking groundwater out faster than it recharges. Could run some wells dry in a few decades.

If that’s the case 60 miles west of Lake Michigan, imagine Nebraska!


That’s not for strawberries, the strawberries are usually picked the day before or that morning. The Farmer’s Market sells just about any vegetable that grows in California including more unusual ones such as okra.


Um, aren’t there also some rather large cities on and near the Great Lakes? And we’re thinking irrigated row crops are to blame for groundwater depletion?


Just conserving water is not going to cut it. Sure building plants are costly abd we need to look at other alternatives. How about building a pipeline from the ant-arctic. Either method would also create jobs. The bottom line is that we need to be doing something instead of talking like we are doing something. I respect what you have said Joie.

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