The US is Letting its “Bread Basket” Die
Climate change is happening fast in the United States but state and federal governments are so dysfunctional they’re unable to respond. Chaos reigns. Central California’s San Joaquin Valley is an example. It’s referred to as America’s “bread basket” but it’s literally being sucked dry. And no, I’m not a drama queen blogger high on Cheetos:
When water doesn’t fall from the sky or flow from reservoirs, there’s only one place to find it: underground. So, three years into a devastating drought, thirsty Californians are draining the precious aquifer beneath the nation’s most productive farmland like never before, pitting neighbor against neighbor in a perverse race to the bottom.
The rush to drill is driven not just by historically dry conditions, but by a host of other factors that promote short-term consumption over long-term survival — new, more moisture-demanding crops; improved drilling technologies; and a surge of corporate investors seeking profits for agricultural ventures.
Now those forces are renewing an age-old problem of environmental degradation: Decades ago, overpumping sunk half of the entire San Joaquin Valley, in one area as much as 28 feet. Today new areas are subsiding, some almost a foot each year, damaging bridges and vital canals.
Yet in California, one of the few states that doesn’t regulate how much water can be pumped from underground, even this hasn’t been enough to create a consensus to stop.
“It’s our savings account, and we’re draining it,” said Phil Isenberg of the Public Policy Institute of California, a former Sacramento mayor and assemblyman. “At some point, there will be none left.”
I recommend reading the whole article. Growers are plowing hundreds of thousands of dollars into drilling wells and well drilling companies are booked 12 months out. Well permits have tripled this year over last, and this year is only three months old. What’s happening there is a not-so-slow-motion catastrophe the corporate media will talk about — and people will know about — when it’s too late.