California: Governor Schwarzenegger declares drought emergency

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California water supplies are in a world of hurt after another winter of low precipitation including a low snowpack. Yesterday Governor Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency, according to a report from the Palm Springs Desert Sun. From the article:

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency Friday after three years of below-average rain and snowfall in California, a step that urges urban water agencies to reduce water use by 20 percent. Mandatory conservation is an option if that and other measures are insufficient. “This is a crisis, just as severe as an earthquake or raging wildfire, and we must treat it with the same urgency by upgrading California’s water infrastructure to ensure a clean and reliable water supply for our growing state,” he said in a statement…

In signing the emergency proclamation, Schwarzenegger said California faces its third year of drought and must prepare for more. The drought has forced farmers to fallow their fields, put thousands of agricultural workers out of work and prompted conservation measures in cities throughout the state. “This drought is having a devastating impact on our people, our communities, our economy and our environment, making today’s action absolutely necessary,” the governor said in his statement.

Meanwhile back upstream in Colorado the eastern plains continue to be abnormally dry with the extreme southeast corner of the state in stage 1 drought. The Yampa and White River basins are also abnormally dry, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

3 thoughts on “California: Governor Schwarzenegger declares drought emergency

  1. Feeding Farmers to the Fish!

    I took a drive this week from Sacramento to Los Angeles, and had an eye opening experience. Down the entire length of the 5 freeway, we saw not the green luscious fields of produce or green orchards laden with fruit, but dusty dead and dying orchards. Rows after row, acre after acre, miles after mile of them, perfectly formed, perfectly helpless….lifeless.

    By way of explanation, these signs dotted the dusty dry roadside: “Congress Created Dust Bowl. Thank You Sacramento!”

    My lawn is green. My kids have plenty of water to spray in the yard, yet California’s orchards aren’t getting a drop this year despite the best rainfall in three years and five reservoirs filled to over capacity.

    There’s no doubt that we’re in a drought, but why the sudden drop in water availability only for farmers? Are the politicians in Sacramento more concerned about the plethora of city votes than the small handful of agricultural ones? We will all be paying for Sacramento’s blunder. The Central Valley provides up to 8% of the nation’s fresh produce.

    Watching the staggering waste just made my heart ache. We had to pull over and take pictures. The contrast with past green was stark—it takes 30 years to build an orchard like this up to full production! Almonds, walnuts, citrus… Why do we have green lawns while these resources are left to die?

    Dead and Dying–California’s Central Valley Dust Bowl

    1. Don’t forget to assign some blame to Reclamation. There isn’t much water in their system and a lot of California agriculture bloomed after they built collection and storage in the Central Valley. Colorado used to grow a crapload of vegetables in the summer. There’s still some but our biggest water users are corn and hay. I think that climate change is claiming you guys as victims.

      I’m pretty sure that a lot of the avocado trees will come back if they get water next growning season. I read that somewhere on the Internet. 🙂

  2. Hey Me and my girlfriend are driving down the 5 as we speak. The signs that read “congress created the dust bowl” are right and sadly it wouldn’t be the first time. =(

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