Local governments and their efforts to enforce water restrictions will be key. Walking around my neighborhood I see some gorgeous lawns with 3"+ of thick solid sod. These take a lot of water to keep green and if you walk around early enough, you can watch their irrigation runoff into the street. San Diego has an app where you can report your neighbor, but I’ll admit to being leery of using it.
southern Nevada enacted a law that all commercial lawns need to be removed by 2026. im guessing with all the reservoirs running out of water, they will see more of this. i cant see how these states will survive this record drought. Its too little , too late in my opinion. we may see a mass migration of people from these areas very soon. a family that has their dog groomed where mine is , is from cali. they said they left partially because of this and taxes there. the mother told me they were paying $400 a month for water.
Issue with Arizona too is they are all located in the same area as well. Ironically they all congregate is the worst area too. I flew into and out of Phoenix AZ to check out houses in the Sedona area and visit the Grand Canyon last year. Phoenix had 6+ lates and merged every mile with constant traffic and rude drivers not letting you in. It was legit terrifying driving in Phoenix AZ. You get out of that area though you start going faster and it is great. You hit the area around Sedona or Cottonwood even it gets very pretty. You head into the Flagstaff area it is about as pretty as the Colorado mountains in certain areas. You go around Phoenix, Tuscan, Gilbert etc. were everyone is it looks horrible compared to where I live. Just cactus, crowded, too hot and horrible all around. It is sad many see AZ for Phoenix and not places like Sedona or Flagstaff. I think AZ is only growing so much because California is moving there.
it’s rough because we’ve passed peak oil, the return on investment is negative if you consider the pollution and water wastage from fracking. I have a cousin in the nuclear industry (overseeing safety for a large org) and I tend to agree with him- if they’d only stop cutting corners, put plants further from people’s homes, nuclear would be a good stop gap.
we had the heat dome last year and a serious drought starting, I feel very lucky that this year we are not in drought. the dust storms are one thing, we’ve had them here at least once a year long as I’ve been here. but the fires are otherworldly. just unbelievable even when you’re right there. it’s ugly, the fires, and in a drought, with the way we’ve sprawled out into dry land around the cities, disaster seems unstoppable there.
we have solar on the house but it’s not a full system. can’t afford it. hybrid car, yeah, but the electric are expensive and the power plant is still burning coal and oil, so the fracking will continue.
my great grandparents had stories of the depression but none about the dust bowl, they were on the east coast and missed the worst of it, though they did see at least one dust storm reach that far. my great grandfather said it killed one of his figs, that it got “smothered”. he killed a lot of figs in his life though, so I take that with a grain of salt.
edit, Nevada reuses grey water for all the fountains, all the non-drinking water in the city is grey water. they’re pretty advanced with catchment and reuse there.
Phoenix not so much.
@steveb4 the amount of water industry and big Ag use means that even if everyone moved away today and there was zero residential use, usage would only go down slightly, last I read it was something like 15% is residential and non-commercial use and only half of that is residential.
I agree that right now electric cars are too expensive. We used to only buy flip phones because of the cost of smartphones and hybrids used to be super expensive but now are just as expensive if not cheaper than some other cars now. I guess the hope would be in the future as competition and electric cars get old goes up electric cars become cheaper to buy. I bought I hybrid two-three years ago when gas was down at 1.11 because I only saw it getting high again in the future. At the time everybody made fun of the people driving a Prius as environment hippies and stating things like a Prius can’t hull a boat. The hard part is right now there is no true way to avoid gas usage unless you are rich. I am sure if given the choice most would go solar and get a electric car if they could right now.
we got an insight. and I was looking at the leaf, the cheaper EV but the battery is 100k mile replacement and costs thousands so it’s a bit much. I’m hoping they start producing smaller ones like that, that are cheaper. it would be great to run it from the house solar, no cost in gas at all
I guess the downside to all EV is they charge more per year to register it. It can be as low as less than 100 dollars extra per year or can be hundreds of dollars extra. Still not as much as gas but makes you think of if switching is worth it.
This is inverted. The farmers were there first and have the water rights to their land. Hordes of people moved into or were born in California over the last @60 years. This sets up a water battle with people on one side and farmers who own the water on the other.
Watering crops does not eliminate water from the local environment. Most of it evaporates either from the land or from the tree. The resulting water vapor does not re-condense in the arid environment. It literally goes up in dry air.
The factor of the water rights and being able to own water is a very hot debated thing for that reason. From one hand someone is paying for it and that was part of the land they bought from another point it is being wasted by major companies which could be given to many people. Like I said above we have been in a drought since I can remember in Colorado and we see companies watering in the middle of the day and the water literally running into the streets. Who said the farmers were the first. Sometimes farmers just buy land because it is established and move on in. In fact I would question how many 60 year old farmers there are. Farming is very strenuous work. There is a reason we have built tools to make the job easier. That is unless you are talking about the owners of the farms who just let the workers do all the work. Hate to say it but the farms making money now are the same few farms selling to the masses. Many fruit at my Costco are labeled Rainier and as I speak I am eating pluots grown by family tree farms which is on a lot of more uncommon produce not sold at a Sam’s Club or Costco…
Imagine pipelines…not carrying oil or gas…but water. They may pipe it in from Canada…or the heartland…or even the east coast… kind of like all of our other natural resources… take from the plenty and give to the few and deal with it decades or centuries later…or currently not at all.
Just in 2021 6 million acres of forest were burned in the West. I think 5 million acres burned in 2020… not sure if they keep records of how many have been burned since settlement… I know that many millions of acres were removed to construct the towns and cities and railroads…and mining and on and on. Not to mention the fantastic logging pictures of the early 1900s.
But that timber is a billion dollar industry… and im not sure they reclaim or can reclaim all that is burned…so less forests have to lead to more deserts and arid climates?
I think factoring in deforestation has to be part of the threads point of improper farming practices.
With no water in the west… i think Fire will win. We have created a fantastic tinderbox of what sparse forests remain.
A very good recipe for drought and fire i think.
When I was in the northern Andes traveling with my family to my dad’s hometown, I remember the conversations he had with the elders centered around the deforestation and the subsequent changes in rainfall in their region. This was in 1981…
There are things that are always talked about but never changed. At least here in America we have crumbling infrastructure, lack of resources needed for people like food, housing, water and shelter, a failing healthcare system, failing wages etc. No one wants to address these things and if they do address it it will not always be sufficient. A good example is people want to enforce a 15 dollar minimum wage and have wanted to do that for years to address the poverty problem. Issue is there is many places in America a 15 dollar minimum wage would not even put a dent in poverty like here in Colorado. Another thing is once prices rise again and we can pretty much say prices will right right away if minimum wage gets to 15 the 15 will not be enough. Want you really need is wages based on a calculation to live in said area. With the water issue we know places like the east and places like Washington could have water piped down since they have enough for them plus more but no one wants to be the one to bear that cost. We in Colorado have a state getting 30 something or 40 something inches of rain a year just a state or two away from us.
I think people have somewhat lost their minds trying to live at great populations in areas that weren’t meant to support that… or even any humans in some cases. Might as well live on the moon… but don’t complain about not being able to grow a lawn on the moon. The world has a lot of people (through choice or bad luck) who depend on big brother to keep them alive in fringe areas… and don’t otherwise know how to make informed choices about the risks to living in certain parts of the world. The input costs to keep people alive in these fringe regions is really high. Diverting water away from areas where that water can be used efficiently to support people or crops doesn’t seem like a good choice. But I’ll be happy if they figure it out so people can continue to overpopulate fringe areas and leave the hospitable areas to everyone else
I’m a fan of the minimum wage increase because it is a huge boost to the middle class. Sadly it is minimal to no gain to the lower income end of the scale.
Take a moment and look at who is making minimum wage, which funny enough it is a very small portion of the work force. Then take out waiters and those who derive the bulk of their income from tips. From the diminishing number take out highschool and college students that are firmly attached to a middle-class family. Finally take out adults on a middle class family with a part time job bringing extra income.
Raising the minimum wage is the least effective way to benefit low income earners. It is a distraction that won’t help them and in fact will raise the cost of living to most that won’t see a change.
I used to be a big advocate of raising the minimum wage. It sounds great in theory. A issue many have found with minimum wage is the average minimum wage worker is in their 30s now. I have worked right over minimum wage but have only worked minimum wage for part of my life and a very little portion. At least for me getting above minimum wage was not hard. I went from a temp minimum wage gardening job to Home Depot which at the time paid a dollar something over minimum wage so bad but not the worst, to plumbing apprentice which paid 3 dollars more but I had to pay a dollar to the union in fees and pay 40-50 dollars a month for dues and benefits like jury duty so I likely did not make much more than Home Depot, then I became a PSE clerk at USPS which is a position without benefits or Cost Of Living increases, then I became a PTF meaning I got more benefits and now I am about to be a Full time regular. My pay now is 24 dollars as a PTF but we don’t get holidays and as a Full Time Regular you get holiday pay but make 23 dollars a hour. This is just after 5-6 years of working. I really don’t see how people in their 30s are making minimum wage. I was mostly using the wage thing as a example of something people wanted to do but would not fix the underlying issue of poverty. The only way to fix the poverty is to a baseline pay based on the calculations on how much it costs to live in that area and that may very town from town. My area has houses for 1.2 or 1.3 million as a basis because it is a rich neighborhood. It just happened my parents bought it at the right time for 160k.The city I work in has houses for sale at a minimum of 500k and 20 miles from my town or less there is a town selling houses for 300 or 400k. All of those are within 45 miles but are certainly not equal in cost of living.
We are pretty far off topic, but since the conversation is about minimum wage, my thoughts are that it should have been raised long ago. Expressed as a percentage of average wage or in terms of cost of living, minimum wage has not kept up with either. In the 1960’s, a person making minimum wage would be able to provide a home and food to eat. Today a person has to work 2 minimum wage jobs to do the same.
Lets please get back to discussing droughts and farming concerns.
Regarding almonds: average fruits and veggies have 10-15 calories per ounce, are very perishable and have varying amounts of vitamins and minerals. Almonds have 164 calories per ounce, store very well and are very nutritious. I don’t understand the hate for growing them. They are an exremely high value commodity crop. If they could be grown as well in other areas, they would be. Because of pest and disease pressure, however, they grow best in an irrigated desert. Maybe I can understand the displeasure at shipping them overseas, but most of us are glad that other countries ship bananas and coffee beans to us. Think of how many sub standard / under ripe plums and peaches get thrown out in supermarkets all over the country year round. Lots of waste on the back end. Virtually zero almonds get wasted once they are in the supply chain. Their quality is consistently good and they keep very well. Finding a way to keep almond orchards irrigated seems very worthwhile.
You have to keep in mind that the supposed water toll of certain trees are due from growing them in the wrong place. There is an avocado tree on my folks backyard, it has never been watered. If you choose to put an entire plantation of them in a dry area with dwindling water resources, well you can’t really blame the tree for that. Chalk it up to the list of stupid things we do that come back to haunt us.
Not sure about hate… however it is a good debate point for the economy vs the environment.
Here are some loose facts- California supplies 80 percent of the worlds almonds. Roughly 1.5 million acres of almond groves in Cali. Around 30 million pounds of insecticides are sprayed on these groves yearly.
1300 gallons of water to produce a pound of Almonds.
Almonds are sprayed while in bloom…and 2 million colonies of honeybees are transported from all over the US to pollinate while they are spraying. Estimated 50 billion bees die during this process. Less talked about is the massive migration from coast to coast on tractor trailers…which burns fossil fuels.
Massive amounds of fertilizers are used as well which contaminates what little ground water there is… Unlike other deciduous trees Almonds require massive amounts of Nitrogen. 50lbs/acre X 1.5M acres.
Chinook Salmon- due to farms using most of the water from the rivers…migration has almost stopped. Likely will stop soon if not already. This impacts the nutrition of many birds and bears as well.
On the economy side- yes its a cash crop. Profits to be made by exporting them all over the world.
Almond milk is in every grocery store in the US i think- Lots of water added to a couple of servings of almonds. So again more water. Water is free or cheap so more profits by adding this wonderful substitute for Milk.
Personal opinion- Almonds are a luxury food item.
While they are good for the economy and exportation…and farmers make alot of money growing them as a cash crop…and food brands make alot of money incorporating almonds into all kinds of things… are the dollars worth the savagery to the environment and ecosystem for a luxury seed?
We can talk about Pistachios as well.
They are one of the most water intensive nuts. One Pistachio farm uses more water than the whole city of Los Angeles. These farms are all in megadrought states.
As an environmentalist and a realist- I think these cash crops should be cancelled. Until something radically changes to be more environmentally sustainable. And i do think that growing them is an improper farming practice that has caused…and will lead to further drought and many other negative environmental impacts
Final thought- Almonds, Pistachios and other seed/nuts/fruits that we can and have been discussing were once a delicacy… which to me makes more sense sustainably.
A delicacy is usually a rare and expensive food item that is considered highly desirable, sophisticated, or peculiarly distinctive within a given culture. Irrespective of local preferences, such a label is typically pervasive throughout a region.
When you turn a delicacy into a dollar store item that is also in every gas station and grocery store… some wrong doings are likely going on somewhere.
this is why there is a push to develop hardier, more productive hazelnuts. they are very nutritious as well and grow great with little fertilizer and needing little to no water if grown here in Maine. when i get my land i plan to plant and sell them. when they come out with better cultivars, plant them and cull the older ones once the new ones start producing. the hazel is a great replacement for these other nuts and actually is good for the environment as they build the soil. they grow well with minimum in puts.