Why is the CA drought not taken more seriously?

According to Reveal News “[groundwater] now accounts for about 60% of California’s water supply. But unlike its rivers, lakes and reservoirs, the state does not consider groundwater part of the public good. It does not regulate groundwater like it does surface water. Landowners can pump as much water as they want.”

PBS Newshour does a better job of explaining this including a link to an op-ed on LA Times by Jay Famiglietti, a Hydrologist and UC Irvine and a water scientist. Written March 12, 2015 “Right now the state has only about one year of water supply left in its reservoirs, and our strategic backup supply, groundwater, is rapidly disappearing.”

We use four times as much water for agriculture as urban use, 80% of the state’s water According to Water used to make various crops it takes 13.8 gallons to make ONE orange, 5.4 gallons to make one head of broccoli, 1.1 gallons of water to make one almond, and so on. Yet Why aren’t farmers being forced to cut back?

Undisputed facts:

  1. We use more water than we take in through rainfall and imports, and this comes from groundwater
  2. Groundwater is limited and California Has No Idea How Much Water It Has Left

It’s like if you spent $100,000 a year, of which $60,000 a year was from your savings account while you have no idea what your remaining balance is.

Groundwater running out would be a worldwide disaster as CA is the 8th largest world economy.  Home values would plummet as areas of the state become uninhabitable. Businesses would have to move or go out of business, causing unemployment and a further drop to home values. Agriculture would be devastated, leading to further job loss and rising food prices.

It’s worth practically any effort to avoid the groundwater running out. We should cut back on golf courses first, which “an average 18-hole course uses 90 million gallons of water each year.” We should migrate away from high water use agriculture, especially the most egregious usages such as oranges and almonds. Farms should not be located in regions that do not get enough rainfall to sustain them, especially deserts.

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