What Is It Without Water?
The New York Times - It's Some of America's Richest Farmland. But What Is It Without Water?
During the height of the drought in June, I followed California’s water supply to take a closer at the long term environmental impact, ways farmers and districts are adjusting to new ground water pumping regulations, and the future of California’s immense agriculture industry.
From Mount Shasta’s melting snow in the north all the way down to the fertile yet dry Central Valley, California’s limited water supply is carefully regulated among farmers by water districts via dams and canals. Farmers in the northern Sacramento Valley are finding it increasingly more profitable to leave land barren and sell their water to others in the south. Farmers in the southern San Joaquin Valley are ripping out water intensive almond tress in favor of drought resistant melons and sunflowers. Others with no access to surface water are relying purely on pumping water from underground wells. The over pumping of groundwater each year has caused irreversible damage to the environment - the entire region has sunk close to 12 feet in the past decade eliminating the environment’s ability to recharge the it’s groundwater reservoirs.
A system built depending on melting snow reveals a drier future as global temperatures continue to rise.