- July 9, 2021
- Posted by: Glory Rivero
- Category: Blog
Californians are facing their worst drought since the 1970’s. In the northern part of the state, which usually is somewhat insulated from drought, is being impacted at a greater level than other areas of the state. The world’s fifth largest economy is also the country’s largest producer of food. California produces $50 billion annually in agriculture revenues, representing a third of the country’s production of vegetables and more than two-thirds of the country’s fruit and nuts. The state exports $21 million is annually.
The California fishing industry represent an excess of a billion dollars annually to the economy and 120,000 jobs. The drought negatively impacts the tourism industry, recreation, nature, water and snow sports. Water plays an important role in energy production around gas, oil, and hydroelectric. The semiconductor industry requires a high-quality supply. The drought is having a significant impact on the economy.
The current situation calls into question whether California has the necessary infrastructure to face major climatic changes. If the answer is no, the next question is why not? Drought conditions are not new, and we just got out of the last drought. What is being done to address the issue? Californians passed a $7.5 billion bond to expand groundwater and surface water investments. Governor Newsom has added an additional $5.1 billion. It is a pittance of what is needed. Investment into smart irrigation systems have proven cost effective and efficient, but not as widely incorporated as needed. Recycling dirty water in to potable and non-potable systems have been implemented, but still have tremendous room for expansion. New desalination projects are being explored and are having challenging times due to environment issues.
But the giant gorilla in the room is the water rights issues. California and the Federal governments have not addressed the archaic water rights and entitlements issues facing the state. Unless and until these issues are resolved, California will have a challenging time solving its water issues.