CALIFORNIA'S WATER CRISIS
Time for Action in Water Crisis
By Ashley Indrieri, FWA Executive Director
Some are saying that California has dodged a bullet when it comes to the statewide drought, but California farmers know that our state's water crisis is only going to get worse before it gets better.
This is not the first drought that we have faced and it definitely will not be the last, but political bickering and inaction have brought California farmers and ranchers to their knees and our state's $35 billion agricultural economy to its breaking point.
For decades our government has studied possible solutions to California's water crisis, such as increased water storage and desalination plants, but studying is all that has been done. California has not invested in water infrastructure in more than 30 years and conservation is touted as the silver bullet to our water crisis. But how can we conserve something we do not have?
Central Valley farmers have taken the hit when it comes to California's water crisis. Fallowing fields and abandoning permanent crops is becoming commonplace as some agricultural communities hover near 50 percent unemployment.
The increased environmental regulations that has cut off water to millions of Californians is only weakening our already fragile economy. For a state that is as agriculturally rich as California, it seems prudent to protect our food supply, jobs and economy from disaster. We have seen the disaster environmental regulation can have on farmers when it devastated the Klamath Basin.
If we do not act and build additional reservoirs and address the draconian environmental laws crippling our economy, our rich agricultural heritage may be lost. ■
Ag Job Loss Threatens Economy
By Ashley Indrieri, FWA Executive Director
Many are asking how we ended up here. American families are losing their homes, jobs and farms. The recent announcement by the Bureau of Reclamation that many farmers will receive zero percent allocation of farm water this year, comes with dire circumstances.
California family farmers grow the food that feeds the nation. It is estimated that in 2009 over 95,000 jobs will be lost in the agricultural industry due to drought and decreased water supplies. This number is simply staggering and alarming. For every $1 billion in farm sales, over 18,000 jobs can be created, but any loss in farm sales equals a loss of jobs.
In the Central Valley of California, agriculture is a $36.6 billion industry that is on the brink of collapse. Farmers cannot simply fallow their fields as they could in the 1970's. Many family farmers have turned to permanent crops and orchards to keep up with the rising costs of running a farm.
So how have we ended up here? Complete political inaction has put our farms and the national food supply at risk. With increased demands on our water supply farmers and ranchers have been demonized as wasters of water, when in fact farmers have doubled food production since the 1960's and only increased water usage by three percent. Farmers have adopted water conservation methods, such as water recycling and drip irrigation, to assure they are good stewards of the environment and our natural resources.
It is time to invest in water infrastructure in our state. We can capture water in the north state during wet seasons and use it during dry seasons. With additional investment in such projects as reservoirs, desalinization and conveyance, we can protect the environment, our farms, communities and economy. ■
FWA Water Crisis Articles
In the News
- The Valley Hope Forgot, Sean Hannity Program, Part One, September 17, 2009
- Agriculture, Jobs, Towns: TERMINATED, Enviros Get Their Way, But Where Will They Get Their Food? by Tim Findley, Range Magazine, Fall 2009 (pdf file)
- Big Brother's Water, If You Think The "Delta Smelt" Scandal Smells, You Ain't Smelt Nothin' Yet, by Henry Lamb, Range Magazine, Fall 2009 (pdf file)
- Blame "shortage" on Misguided Environmentalists by M. David Stripling, special to the Sacramento Bee, June 14, 2009
- Accounting for California's Suicide by Victor Davis Hanson
- New Reservoirs Would Have Caught California Rain by Dan Walters, Sacramento Bee, March 8, 2009 (pdf file)
- Time for California to 'Insure' Against Drought by Don Zea, Capitol Weekly, March 12, 2009 (pdf file)
- Water Crisis Squeezes California's Economy by Daniel B. Wood, The Christian Science Monitor, September 12, 2007
- California Water Crisis Battle Continues to Erupt on Many Fronts by Brenda Carol, Western Farm Press, March 6, 2009
- California Water Crisis Signals Warning for Other States by Frank Priestley, president, Idaho Farm Bureau Federation
- Drought: California’s Impending Economic Crisis - Circle of Blue Water News, February 3, 2009
Links to More Information on California's Water Crisis
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