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Fri, 22 Feb 2019
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Drought

Hourglass

California drought a direct threat to US food supply

drought
NASA experts claim California now holds less than 1 year in water reserves, while the drought and water usage have depleted fresh supplies at a drastic rate. This is a direct threat to biggest source agriculture production in the country, with some 80-90% of many key fruit and vegetable crops being raised in California...

If they are right, are you prepared to handle skyrocketing food prices or even shortages of foods you rely upon?

Comment: In addition to the drought and a looming economic collapse, Mother Nature may have other surprises in store for us. Even temporary supply disruptions caused by major storms can wipe out local grocery stores in a matter of hours. It's better to be prepared, in any case.

The writing is on the wall: Be prepared


Cow Skull

California drought: Where will all the people go when the mass migration starts?

no swimming
© peripitus
The drought in California is getting a lot worse. As you read this, snowpack levels in the Sierra Nevada mountains are the lowest that have ever been recorded. That means that there won't be much water for California farmers and California cities once again this year. To make up the difference in recent years, water has been pumped out of the ground like crazy. In fact, California has been losing more than 12 million acre-feet of groundwater a year since 2011, and wells all over the state are going dry. Once the groundwater is all gone, what are people going to do? 100 years ago, the population of the state of California was 3 million, and during the 20th century we built lots of beautiful new cities in an area that was previously a desert. Scientists tell us that the 20th century was the wettest century in 1000 years for that area of the country, but now weather patterns are reverting back to normal. Today, the state of California is turning back into a desert but it now has a population of 38 million people. This is not sustainable in the long-term. So when the water runs out, where are they going to go?

I have written quite a few articles about the horrific drought in California, but conditions just continue to get even worse. According to NPR, snowpack levels in the Sierra Nevada mountains are "just 6 percent of the long-term average"...

Beaker

California issues first mandatory water restrictions

Lake Oroville, CA in 2014
© www.slate.com
Lake Oroville, 2014
California's governor issued the state's first mandatory water restrictions amid a devastating four-year drought. California may only have a year's worth of water left, and snowpack measurements for the year are set to hit record lows.

Governor Jerry Brown (D) made the announcement Wednesday at the Phillips snow course, near Sierra-at-Tahoe ski resort, during the state's annual snow survey, where state officials measure the snowpack in the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Early data shows the snowpack in the range is lower than any year since 1950, and it was the first time in 75 years there was no snow at the Phillips location, which averages more than 66 inches on April 1, KTLA reported.

"Today we are standing on dry grass where there should be five feet of snow. This historic drought demands unprecedented action," Brown said. "Therefore, I'm issuing an executive order mandating substantial water reductions across our state. As Californians, we must pull together and save water in every way possible."

Comment: No water is a really, really bad thing. California has been an anchor in the US economy. In 2012 it had the 10th largest economy in the world out of 190 nations. Ranking: USA, China, Japan, Germany, France, UK, Brazil, Russia, Italy, (California). It is an agricultural giant that will be brought to its knees by this "current reversal" of fortune. Will the drought end in 2016? Perhaps a snowball's chance in hell...


Attention

Underground seas go untapped while California's water war rages on

Water Wars_1
© Zero Hedge
In California's epic drought, wars over water rights continue, while innovative alternatives for increasing the available water supply go untapped.

Wars over California's limited water supply have been going on for at least a century. Water wars have been the subject of some vintage movies, including the 1958 hit The Big Country starring Gregory Peck, Clint Eastwood's 1985 Pale Rider, 1995's Waterworld with Kevin Costner, and the 2005 film Batman Begins. Most acclaimed was the 1975 Academy Award winner Chinatown with Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway, involving a plot between a corrupt Los Angeles politician and land speculators to fabricate the 1937 drought in order to force farmers to sell their land at low prices. The plot was rooted in historical fact, reflecting battles between Owens Valley farmers and Los Angeles urbanites over water rights.

Today the water wars continue on a larger scale with new players. It's no longer just the farmers against the ranchers or the urbanites. It's the people against the new "water barons" - Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Monsanto, the Bush family, and their ilk - who are buying up water all over the world at an unprecedented pace.

Comment: For more on the California drought see:


Mars

California reverts to desert conditions

Image

Drought conditions.
Once upon a time, much of the state of California was a barren desert. And now, thanks to the worst drought in modern American history, much of the state is turning back into one. Scientists tell us that the 20th century was the wettest century that the state of California had seen in 1000 years. But now weather patterns are reverting back to historical norms, and California is rapidly running out of water. It is being reported that the state only has approximately a one year supply of water left in the reservoirs, and when the water is all gone there are no contingency plans. Back in early 2014, California Governor Jerry Brown declared a drought emergency for the entire state, but since that time water usage has only dropped by 9 percent. That is not nearly enough. The state of California has been losing more than 12 million acre-feet of total water a year since 2011, and we are quickly heading toward an extremely painful water crisis unlike anything that any of us have ever seen before.

But don't take my word for it. According to the Los Angeles Times, Jay Famiglietti "is the senior water scientist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory/Caltech and a professor of Earth system science at UC Irvine". What he has to say about the horrific drought in California is extremely sobering...

Comment: U.S. Drought Monitor: California drought covers 100% of state

Only 1 year of water left in California - NASA scientist suggests rationing


Water

Only 1 year of water left in California, NASA scientist suggests rationing

water rationing
© Reuters / Lucy Nicholson
NASA's top water scientist says California only has about one year's worth of water left in storage, and its groundwater - often used as a backup for reservoirs and other reserves - is rapidly depleting. He suggests immediately rationing water.

California just had the driest January since record-keeping began in 1895, with groundwater and snowpack levels at all-time lows, NASA scientist Jay Familglietti wrote in a column for the Los Angeles Times. He said the state has been running out of water since before the current years-long drought and storage levels have been falling since at least 2002, according to NASA satellite data.

"California has no contingency plan for a persistent drought like this one (let alone a 20-plus-year mega-drought), except, apparently, staying in emergency mode and praying for rain," said Familglietti. "In short, we have no paddle to navigate this crisis."


Comment: Access to water is a basic human right, and is essential for sustaining human life. With extreme weather increasing, will we begin to see people migrating as drought conditions worsen in some areas?

Corporations have been systematically 'sucking dry' this valuable resource, with no meaningful restraints or considerations in place, consumed only by their insatiable thirst for profit.

See also:

Flow: How privatization is accelerating the world's water crisis
Water industry, World Bank pilot new scheme to drive public water into private hands
Coca-Cola and Nestle are sucking us dry without our even knowing, effectively privatizing water supplies


Bizarro Earth

Economic losses from global disasters hit low-income countries the hardest

disaster chart natons
Deaths, economic losses and other negative impacts from disasters have caused losses equivalent to 42 million years annually since 1980, a measure that is comparable to the burden of tuberculosis worldwide, the United Nations said.

More than 90 percent of the total "years" lost in disasters between 1980 and 2012 were in low and middle-income countries, representing a serious setback to their development, the U.N. Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) said.

"If these figures show that disaster loss is as much a critical global challenge to economic development and social progress as is disease, they also show that it is a challenge unequally shared," the UNISDR said in a report on Wednesday.

Comment: Low income nations are least likely to have the resources to build infrastructure to withstand the increasingly devastating affects of earth changes. While wealthier nations invest in developing countries, often the focus is on resource-grabbing rather than building to sustain a nation and its inhabitants. And in some cases, even so-called wealthy nations like the US are unrealistically ignoring a crumbling infrastructure in order to fund war and plunder in other nations. The way things are looking on the BBM, it will become increasingly obvious that such policies have been disastrous in themselves.


Water

How Brazil's water crisis can metastasize into societal self-destruction

Brazil drought 3
© Associated Press
If you take a look through history, you'll see the rise and fall of numerous civilizations. Many armchair historians are quick to point to these examples, and say their decline was caused by drought, or war, or economic collapse. But the truth is, it's never just one disaster that causes their collapse. It's often a series of problems that compound and feed each other, begetting more calamities until the system buckles.

It's easy to notice these sorts of conditions being inflicted on America today, but I think the best example in the Western Hemisphere is probably Brazil. Right now they're going through one of the worst droughts in history, and if current rates of consumption continue, cities like Sao Paulo may be out of water in 4-6 months. After three straight years of drought, there's even talk of rationing the water to such an extreme degree, that they'll have to shut off the municipal supply to the public for 5 days a week.

Comment: See also:

Brazil drought crisis deepens in Sao Paulo and other areas

Sao Paulo, Brazil's biggest city, faces water rationing amid drought


Sun

Mega-drought: U.S. Southwest faces worst water shortage in 1,000 years

dried up crops
© www.nature.com
The future of Southwestern farming?
Southwestern USA could be set for its worst drought in 1,000 years because of climate change. Numerous states have experienced severe water shortages, with 64 million people affected. Researchers say things could get worse.

The arid conditions in the southwest of the United States and the Great Plains have been caused by higher temperatures, while ground water supplies are shrinking. Studies by scientists using computer models show that the US could be in for its worst droughts since the 12th and 13th centuries.

drought chart
© earthobservatory.nasa.gov
Progressing drought regions of Southwest USA.
"The 21st-century projections make the [previous] mega-droughts seem like quaint walks through the Garden of Eden," said Jason Smerdon, who was a co-author of the paper, which was published in the journal Science Advances and is also a climate scientist at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

Ben Cook, from NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, also helped to write the paper added that Americans may have to get used to droughts as a way of life. "These mega-droughts during the 1100s and 1200s persisted for 20, 30, 40, 50 years at a time, and they were droughts that no one in the history of the United States has ever experienced," he said in a press release. "The droughts that people do know about like the 1930s 'dustbowl' or the 1950s drought, or even the ongoing drought in California, and the southwest today - these are all naturally occurring droughts that are expected to last only a few years or perhaps a decade. Imagine instead the current California drought going on for another 20 years," Cook added.


Comment: These mega-droughts may not have been experienced by "citizens of the U.S.A.," but they were certainly experienced by native North, Central and South American cultures, as drought is a cyclical and natural weather phenomenon dependent on the trade winds, Hadley Cell cycles and ocean currents such as El Niño and La Niña. They are NOT dependent on, nor exclusively caused by higher temperatures. And, mega-droughts are NEVER "quaint walks through the Garden of Eden!!!"


Comment: FACT: Droughts happened in both cool and warm periods. Check this out... During historic drought years: In 608 A.D. the Euphrates froze. In 829 A.D. the Nile froze. In 865 A.D. fjords filled with sea ice in Iceland and Norway.

North America experienced at least four mega-droughts during the Medieval Warm Period. Mono Lake in the Sierra Nevada has identified a epic period of severe, persistent drought lasting from 892 to 1112 A.D. (220 years), as well as one connecting the northern Great Plains of N. America, across the southwestern U.S. and into Mexico from 735 to 765 A.D. (Stahl et al. 2002.) Other neighboring peoples affected by the drought were the Mayans and inhabitants of Central Mexico, Panama, the Yucatan, the pre-Incas in the high Andean Plateau (the Altiplano) of now Peru and Bolivia, the Teotihuacan of highland Mexico, the Moche and eventually the Toltecs from 1100 A.D. onward.

These resource experts ought to turn it in and go home.


Cow Skull

Sao Paulo may have to begin rationing water in face of drought emergency

Image
© Reuters/Nacho Doce
A sign (in black) that reads "Tap without Water" is seen inside an ice-cream shop at the Pinheiros neighbourhood in Sao Paulo February 10, 2015.
Brazilians are hoarding water in their apartments, drilling homemade wells and taking other emergency measures to prepare for forced rationing that appears likely and could leave taps dry for up to five days a week because of a drought.

In São Paulo, the country's largest city with a metropolitan area of 20 million people, the main reservoir is at just 6 percent of capacity with the peak of the rainy season now past.

Other cities in Brazil's heavily populated southeast such as Rio de Janeiro face less dire shortages but could also see rationing.

Uncertainty over the drought and its consequences on jobs, public health and overall quality of life have further darkened Brazilians' mood at a time when the economy is struggling and President Dilma Rousseff's popularity is at an all-time low.

After January rains disappointed, and incentives to cut consumption fell short, São Paulo officials warned their next step could be to shut off customers' water supply for as many as five days a week - a measure that would likely last until the next rainy season starts in October, if not longer.

State officials say they have not yet decided whether or when to implement such rationing, in part because they are still hoping for heavy rains in February and March. Indeed, thunderstorms in recent days have caused lakes to rise a bit.

Still, independent projections suggest that São Paulo's main Cantareira reservoir could run out of water as soon as April without drastic cuts to consumption.

As such, the race is on to secure water while it lasts.

Large hospitals in São Paulo are installing in-house water treatment and recycling centers, among other measures, to make sure they can still carry out surgeries and other essential tasks if regular supply stops.

Comment: See also: Brazil's suffers worst drought in history

It's all the more incredible after this happened in December:

Extreme flooding in Sao Paulo, Brazil