CALIFORNIA – In the midst of the worst drought in 15 years, California farmers are taking drastic measures to save their crops and their livelihoods, Bloomberg reports. Even as Governor Schwarzenegger called for more water aid for agriculture, struggling farmers in the San Joaquin Valley have begun abandoning crops and spending millions on short term solutions. Some have resorted to digging 1,200 foot wells and pumping water with above normal salt content — a move the could have serious longterm consequences if drought relief doesn’t come soon.
The drought has caused the price of free-market water to skyrocket throughout the afflicted areas: up to $1000 per acre-foot, ten times the amount charged by U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (one acre-foot is the equivalent to 326,000 gallons). Taking extreme actions, over-pumping from underground aquifers has caused the ground to sink in some areas and scientists warn that too much unregulated withdrawal could eventually threaten the future of drinking water throughout the state.
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Source : Bloomberg
Circle of Blue’s east coast correspondent based in New York. He specializes on water conflict and the water-food-energy nexus. He previously worked as a political risk analyst covering equatorial Africa’s energy sector, and sustainable development in sub-Saharan Africa. Contact: Cody.Pope@circleofblue.org