Millions Of Acres Of Crops In The Central U.S. Have Been Destroyed By A Series Of Historic Natural Disasters

While the mainstream media focuses on the upcoming election, COVID-19 and the endless protests going on in our major cities, another great tragedy is unfolding all across the middle of the country.  A nightmarish drought, horrific flooding along the Mississippi River and a giant “derecho” that just hit the farm belt have combined to make this one of the toughest years for farmers ever.  And this comes at a particularly bad time, because the stress that the COVID-19 pandemic has put on food distribution systems has already created periodic shortages of certain items around the nation.  We definitely could have used an uneventful growing season this year, and unfortunately we didn’t get it.

On Monday, an absolutely massive “derecho” roared through the Midwest.  According to USA Today, the storm had winds of up to 112 miles per hour…

The storm had winds of up to 112 mph near Cedar Rapids, Iowa – as powerful as an inland hurricane – as it tore from eastern Nebraska across Iowa and parts of Wisconsin, Indiana and Illinois, including Chicago and its suburbs.

Most hurricanes don’t have winds that high once they finally reach shore, and I have personally never experienced wind speeds of such magnitude.

Needless to say, this very unusual storm caused immense devastation.  According to Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, approximately 10 million acres of crops were destroyed in Iowa alone…

Early estimates say the derecho flattened at least one-third of Iowa’s crops – about 10 million acres, according to Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds. In addition, tens of millions of bushels of grain that were stored at co-ops and on farms were damaged or destroyed as bins blew away.

And it rocked Marshalltown, Iowa, where an EF-3 tornado destroyed the town’s business district just two years ago. With winds of 99 mph, Monday’s storm damaged some businesses that had recently recovered, even damaging the scaffolding being used to repair the historic courthouse dome.

I can’t remember a storm ever causing this much damage in the middle of the summer.

If about 10 million acres were flattened just in Iowa, how many more acres did this storm destroy in Nebraska, Wisconsin, Indiana and Illinois?

Sadly, this one storm is going to completely financially ruin some farmers.  For example, Iowa farmer Tim Bardole is facing losses that could potentially exceed one million dollars

Corn that used to stand upright on Bardole’s farm is now laying on its side. Some stalks snapped off, others ripped out of the ground at the roots.

Bardole estimated he’ll be out $200 an acre, which is $500,000 total.

Worst-case scenario, that could go up to $500 per acre. That would equate to $1.25 million.

How would you feel if you lost a million dollars because of one storm?

Further south, many farmers along the southern Mississippi Delta have already had their growing seasons wiped out by historic flooding for the second year in a row

The southern Mississippi Delta is home to some of the most fertile farmland in the United States.

But not a single crop of soybeans, cotton, corn, or rice has been planted at many farms in the region — one of the poorest in the country.

This wasn’t supposed to happen.

The flooding of 2019 was a complete and utter nightmare, and this was the year when the recovery was supposed to begin.  But instead, “hundreds of thousands of acres” are currently entirely buried by water…

For the second year in a row, widespread flooding has left hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland underwater, ruining entire harvests. And now, with their fields submerged, farmers are bracing for another year of no income.

Meanwhile, countless other farmers are having their growing seasons ruined by a crippling drought.

I know that many of you are reading this article and are thinking that what I am saying sounds contradictory.

After all, how can there be severe flooding and severe drought at the same time?

I know that this sounds very strange, but it is actually happening.  We are witnessing severe flooding right along the Mississippi River, and at the same time historic drought conditions are creating massive problems across much of the western half of the nation.

In fact, we are being told that drought conditions in some areas have already become the worst “in almost a decade”

Drought conditions throughout the country are reaching their worst levels in almost a decade.

This summer, drought has hit large portions of the United States, especially slamming key pasture and ranges for ranchers. But crops are also seeing downward trends in quality thanks to the hot, dry weather.

Things are particularly bad in the Southwest, and this is making life very difficult for many ranchers

The worst-hit section of the country, with the highest levels of drought, are in cattle country: West Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Colorado, and Kansas. That’s led to really damaged, dry topsoil and grazing land, which could force ranchers to invest in other feeding options for livestock. Only 36 percent of the country’s pasture and range land is rated good or excellent; 30 percent is rated poor or very poor, reports FarmFutures.

If you look at the latest U.S. Drought Monitor map, you will see that the drought is the worst in the areas where the original “Dust Bowl” developed back in the 1930s.  Those that follow my work regularly know that I have been warning about a return of “the Dust Bowl” for many years, and now it is starting to happen.

2020 seems to be a year when the bad news never ends.  First we were hit by the worst public health crisis in 100 years, then the U.S. economy collapsed, then massive riots erupted in our major cities, and now farms are being absolutely devastated all across the United States.

All throughout 2019 I warned that a “perfect storm” was coming, and what we have experienced so far is just the leading edge of that storm.

So I would encourage you to use the relative tranquility of the month of August to get prepared for what is ahead, because the month of September is almost here, and the presidential election is right around the corner.

***It is finally here! Michael’s new book entitled “Lost Prophecies Of The Future Of America” is now available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.***

About the Author: My name is Michael Snyder and my brand new book entitled “Lost Prophecies Of The Future Of America” is now available on Amazon.com.  By purchasing the book you help to support the work that my wife and I are doing, and by giving it to others you help to multiply the impact that we are having on people all over the globe.  I have published thousands of articles on The Economic Collapse BlogEnd Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe.  I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but I also ask that they include this “About the Author” section with each article.  In addition to my new book, I have written four others that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned)  The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions.  I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with as many people as we possibly can.

Global Crop Failures Continue: In Australia This Is Going To Be The WORST HARVEST Ever Recorded

Global food production is being hit from seemingly every side.  Thanks to absolutely crazy weather patterns, giant locust armies in Africa and the Middle East, and an unprecedented outbreak of African Swine Fever in China, a lot less food is being produced around the world than originally anticipated.  Even during the best of years we really struggle to feed everyone on the planet, and so a lot of people are wondering what is going to happen as global food supplies become tighter and tighter.  The mainstream media in the United States is so obsessed with politics right now that they haven’t been paying much attention to this emerging crisis, but the truth is that this growing nightmare is only going to intensify in the months ahead.

In Australia, conditions have been extremely hot and extremely dry, and that helped to fuel the horrific wildfires that we recently witnessed.

And everyone knew that agricultural production in Australia was going to be disappointing this year, but it turns out that it is actually going to be the worst ever recorded

Australia’s hottest and driest year on record has slashed crop production, with summer output expected to fall to the lowest levels on record, according to official projections released Tuesday.

The country’s agriculture department said it expects production of crops like sorghum, cotton and rice to fall 66 percent — the lowest levels since records began in 1980-81.

The continent of Australia is considered to be one of the breadbaskets of the world.  According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in 2018/19 Australia exported over 9 million tons of wheat to the rest of the world.

But thanks to relentless crop failures, Australia has started to import wheat, and that is likely to continue for the foreseeable future.

So instead of helping to feed the rest of the world, Australia is now relying on the rest of us to help feed them.

And what is happening this year didn’t just barely break the old records.  In fact, one senior economist says that this will be the worst summer crop production the country has ever seen “by a large margin”

“It is the lowest summer crop production in this period by a large margin,” Peter Collins, a senior economist with the department’s statistical body ABARES told AFP.

Of course if the rest of the world was doing great we could certainly survive a downturn in Australia.

Unfortunately, that is definitely not the case.

Right now, billions upon billions of locusts are voraciously devouring farms in eastern Africa and the Middle East.  As I detailed the other day, giant armies of locusts the size of large cities are traveling up to 100 miles per day as they search for food.  When they descend on a farm, all the crops can be consumed literally within 30 seconds.  It is a nightmare of epic proportions, and UN officials are telling us that this crisis is only going to get worse over the next couple of months.

In Uganda, the army has been called out to help fight this locust plague, but it is making very little difference

Under a warm morning sun scores of weary soldiers stare as millions of yellow locusts rise into the northern Ugandan sky, despite hours spent spraying vegetation with chemicals in an attempt to kill them.

From the tops of shea trees, fields of pea plants and tall grass savanna, the insects rise in a hypnotic murmuration, disappearing quickly to wreak devastation elsewhere.

The most effective way of fighting these locust swarms is to spray insecticide on them from the air, but even that only produces very limited results.

However, at least it is better than doing nothing.

The UN is trying to raise a lot more money to get more planes into the air, because if nothing is done the number of locusts “could grow up to 500 times by June”

The U.N. has said $76 million is needed immediately. On Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a visit to Ethiopia said the U.S. would donate another $8 million to the effort. That follows an earlier $800,000.

The number of overall locusts could grow up to 500 times by June, when drier weather begins, experts have said. Until then, the fear is that more rains in the coming weeks will bring fresh vegetation to feed a new generation of the voracious insects.

Overall, these locusts are affecting nations “with a combined population of nearly 2 billion”, and the amount of food that these locusts are destroying is unprecedented.

Meanwhile, China has been dealing with the worst outbreak of African Swine Fever in history.

African Swine Fever does not affect humans, but it sweeps through herds of pigs like wildfire.  There is no vaccine, there is no cure, and once African Swine Fever starts infecting pigs in a certain area the only thing that can be done is to kill the rest of the pigs to keep it from spreading anywhere else.

Unfortunately, China has not been able to get this outbreak under control, and the losses have been staggering.

According to the New York Times, the number of pigs that have been wiped out in China already is equivalent to “nearly one-quarter of all the world’s pigs”…

The disease was first reported in Shenyang, Liaoning Province, in early August 2018. By the end of August 2019, the entire pig population of China had dropped by about 40 percent. China accounted for more than half of the global pig population in 2018, and the epidemic there alone has killed nearly one-quarter of all the world’s pigs.

But of course China is not the only one dealing with African Swine Fever.

In fact, cases of African Swine Fever have now been identified “in 50 countries”, and U.S. pig farmers are deathly afraid of what would happen if this disease starts spreading here.

As a result of this crisis, pork prices in China have gone through the roof, and many families are no longer able to eat pork at all.

Never before in the modern era have we seen so many major threats to global food production emerge simultaneously.

There are more than 7 billion people living on our planet today, and we need to be able to grow enough food to feed everyone.

If we aren’t able to do that, food prices will start to get really high, and people in the poorest areas simply will not have enough food to feed their families.

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe. I have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The End, Get Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. This article may contain opinions on political matters, but it is not intended to promote the candidacy of any particular political candidate. The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.

We Are Seeing Heat And Drought In The Southwest United States Like We Haven’t Seen Since The Dust Bowl Of The 1930s

Despite all of the other crazy news that is happening all around the world, the top headlines on Drudge on Monday evening were all about the record heatwave that is currently pummeling the Southwest.  Of course it is always hot during the summer, but the strange weather that we have been witnessing in recent months is unlike anything that we have seen since the Dust Bowl days of the 1930s.  At this moment, almost the entire Southwest is in some stage of drought.  Agricultural production has been absolutely devastated, major lakes, rivers and streams are rapidly becoming bone dry, and wild horses are dropping dead because they don’t have any water to drink.  In addition, we are starting to see enormous dust storms strike major cities such as Las Vegas and Phoenix, and the extremely dry conditions have already made this one of the worst years for wildfires in U.S. history.  What we are facing is not “apocalyptic” quite yet, but it will be soon if the rain doesn’t start falling.

Large portions of Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah are already at the highest level of drought on the scale.  In Arizona, things are so bad that wild horses have been dropping dead by the dozens, and now authorities are trying to save those that are left

For what they say is the first time, volunteer groups in Arizona and Colorado are hauling thousands of gallons of water and truckloads of food to remote grazing grounds where springs have run dry and vegetation has disappeared.

Federal land managers also have begun emergency roundups in desert areas of Utah and Nevada.

‘We’ve never seen it like this,’ said Simone Netherlands, president of the Arizona-based Salt River Wild Horse Management Group. In May, dozens of horses were found dead on the edge of a dried-up watering hole in northeastern Arizona.

It is being projected that this will be the hottest week of the year so far for much of the Southwest, and on Monday the city of Waco, Texas actually set a brand new all-time record high temperature

Monday was the hottest day on record for Waco as temperatures climbed to 114 degrees just after 5 p.m., according to the National Weather Service.

“Officially and by two degrees, this is the hottest it has ever been in Waco,” National Weather Service meteorologist Dennis Cain said.

Please keep in mind that a record was not just set for that particular date.

114 degrees was the hottest that it has been in the city of Waco ever.

Of course residents of Phoenix are probably scoffing when they read that, because it was even hotter there

Temperatures approached 120 degrees in parts of the U.S. Southwest on Monday, and forecasters said this week could bring the region’s hottest weather of the year.

Phoenix reached a sweltering 115 degrees (46 Celsius), which broke the previous daily record, according to the National Weather Service.

Without air conditioning, Phoenix would not be a viable city.  During this time of the year the air conditioners run extremely hard, and authorities have issued an “excessive heat warning” until Wednesday

From Monday, July 23 to Wednesday, July 25, Phoenix will be under an Excessive Heat Warning. During this time, residents are recommended to stay indoors.

With the temperatures rising and ACs on, APS expects record numbers for energy usage.

Over in California, the big concern is whether the power grid will hold up or not.

On Monday, ISO authorities ordered Californians “to conserve electricity”

California’s power grid operator on Monday issued an alert to homes and businesses to conserve electricity on Tuesday and Wednesday when a heat wave is expected to blanket the state.

The California Independent System Operator (ISO), the grid operator, said it issued the so-called “Flex Alert” due to high temperatures across the western United States, reduced electricity imports into the state, tight natural gas supplies in Southern California and high wildfire risk.

And that followed a similar alert that was put out by Southern California Gas.  It will be very interesting to see if California can get through this current heatwave without any substantial disruptions.

In the past, heatwaves have come and gone, but things are different this time.  Unusual heat has been hammering the Southwest for an extended period of time, and nobody knows when it will end.  For example, experts tell us that the U.S. experienced the hottest month of May ever recorded

The USA is sweltering through what will likely be its hottest May on record, according to a preliminary analysis of weather data.

National Weather Service meteorologist Victor Murphy said May 2018 should break the record set in May 1934 during the Dust Bowl.

Of course it isn’t just the U.S. that is being affected.  Over the past 12 months, we have seen an endless string of record high temperatures being set all over the world.

But what should deeply alarm those of us living in the United States in particular is the return of Dust Bowl conditions to the Southwest.  Just within the past couple of days, we have seen massive dust storms hit Phoenix and Las Vegas.  Very few of us were alive back in the 1930s, but we have heard about the immense devastation that occurred as much of the Southwest was literally transformed into a desert.

Well, now it is happening again.

Scientists tell us that the Southwest has been unusually wet for the past several decades.  For most of human history, the Southwest United States was a bleak, barren desert, and it appears that those conditions may be attempting to return.

If Dust Bowl conditions continue to intensify, it won’t just be Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah that are affected.  Agricultural production will be devastated in Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and other Midwest states as well, and that would have profound implications for the U.S. economy and for the future of our society.

Michael Snyder is a nationally syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is publisher of The Most Important News and the author of four books including The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters.

The Greatest Water Crisis In The History Of The United States

US Drought Monitor May 5 2015What are we going to do once all the water is gone?  Thanks to the worst drought in more than 1,000 years, the western third of the country is facing the greatest water crisis that the United States has ever seen.  Lake Mead is now the lowest that it has ever been since the Hoover Dam was finished in the 1930s, mandatory water restrictions have already been implemented in the state of California, and there are already widespread reports of people stealing water in some of the worst hit areas.  But this is just the beginning.  Right now, in a desperate attempt to maintain somewhat “normal” levels of activity, water is being pumped out of the ground in the western half of the nation at an absolutely staggering pace.  Once that irreplaceable groundwater is gone, that is when the real crisis will begin.  If this multi-year drought stretches on and becomes the “megadrought” that a lot of scientists are now warning about, life as we know it in much of the country is going to be fundamentally transformed and millions of Americans may be forced to find somewhere else to live.

Simply put, this is not a normal drought.  What the western half of the nation is experiencing right now is highly unusual.  In fact, scientists tell us that California has not seen anything quite like this in at least 1,200 years

Analyzing tree rings that date back to 800 A.D. — a time when Vikings were marauding Europe and the Chinese were inventing gunpowder — there is no three-year period when California’s rainfall has been as low and its temperatures as hot as they have been from 2012 to 2014, the researchers found.

Much of the state of California was once a desert, and much of it is now turning back into a desert.  The same thing can also be said about much of Arizona and much of Nevada.  We never really should have built massive, sprawling cities such as Las Vegas and Phoenix in the middle of the desert.  But the 20th century was the wettest century for western North America in about 1,000 years, and we got lulled into a false sense of security.

At this point, the water level in Lake Mead has hit a brand new record low, and authorities are warning that official water rationing could soon begin for both Arizona and Nevada…

Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the US, has hit its lowest level ever. Feeding California, Nevada and Arizona, it can hold a mind-boggling 35 cubic kilometres of water. But it has been many years since it was at capacity, and the situation is only getting worse.

“We’re only at 38 percent full. Lake Mead hasn’t been this low since we were filling it in the 1930s,” said a spokeswoman for the US Bureau of Reclamation in Las Vegas.

If it gets much lower – and with summer approaching and a dwindling snowpack available to replenish it, that looks likely – official rationing will begin for Arizona and Nevada.

And did you know that the once mighty Colorado River no longer even reaches the ocean?  Over 40 million people depend upon this one river, and because the Colorado is slowly dying an enormous amount of water is being pumped out of the ground in a crazed attempt to carry on with business as usual

The Colorado River currently supplies water to more than 40 million people from Denver to Los Angeles (as well as Las Vegas, Phoenix, Tucson, San Diego, Salt Lake City, Albuquerque, and Santa Fe—none of which lie directly on the river). According to one recent study, 16 million jobs and $1.4 trillion in annual economic activity across the West depend on the Colorado. As the river dries up, farmers and cities have turned to pumping groundwater. In just the last 10 years, the Colorado Basin has lost 15.6 cubic miles of subsurface freshwater, an amount researchers called “shocking.” Once an official shortage is declared, Arizona farmers will increase their rate of pumping even further, to blunt the effect of an anticipated sharp cutback.

The same kind of thing is going on in the middle part of the country.  Farmers are pumping water out of the rapidly shrinking Ogallala Aquifer so fast that a major crisis in the years ahead is virtually guaranteed

Farther east, the Ogallala Aquifer under the High Plains is also shrinking because of too much demand. When the Dust Bowl overtook the Great Plains in the 1930s, the Ogallala had been discovered only recently, and for the most part it wasn’t tapped then to help ease the drought. But large-scale center-pivot irrigation transformed crop production on the plains after World War II, allowing water-thirsty crops like corn and alfalfa for feeding livestock.

But severe drought threatens the southern plains again, and water is being unsustainably drawn from the southern Ogallala Aquifer. The northern Ogallala, found near the surface in Nebraska, is replenished by surface runoff from rivers originating in the Rockies. But farther south in Texas and New Mexico, water lies hundreds of feet below the surface, and does not recharge. Sandra Postel wrote here last month that the Ogallala Aquifer water level in the Texas Panhandle has dropped by up to 15 feet in the past decade, with more than three-quarters of that loss having come during the drought of the past five years. A recent Kansas State University study said that if farmers in Kansas keep irrigating at present rates, 69 percent of the Ogallala Aquifer will be gone in 50 years.

At one time, most of us took water completely for granted.

But now that it is becoming “the new oil”, people are starting to look at water much differently.  Sadly, this even includes thieves

With the state of California mired in its fourth year of drought and a mandatory 25 percent reduction in water usage in place, reports of water theft have become common.

In April, The Associated Press reported that huge amounts of water went missing from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and a state investigation was launched. The delta is a vital body of water, serving 23 million Californians as well as millions of farm acres, according to the Association for California Water Agencies.

The AP reported in February that a number of homeowners in Modesto, California, were fined $1,500 for allegedly taking water from a canal. In another instance, thieves in the town of North San Juan stole hundreds of gallons of water from a fire department tank.

In case you are wondering, of course this emerging water crisis is going to deeply affect our food supply.  More than 40 percent of all our fruits and vegetables are grown in the state of California, so this drought is going to end up hitting all of us in the wallet one way or another.

And this water crisis is not the only major threat that our food supply is facing at the moment.  A horrific outbreak of the bird flu has already killed more than 20 million turkeys and chickens, and the price of eggs has already gone up substantially

The cost of a carton of large eggs in the Midwest has jumped nearly 17 percent to $1.39 a dozen from $1.19 since mid-April when the virus began appearing in Iowa’s chicken flocks and farmers culled their flocks to contain any spread.

A much bigger increase has emerged in the eggs used as ingredients in processed products like cake mix and mayonnaise, which account for the majority of what Iowa produces. Those eggs have jumped 63 percent to $1.03 a dozen from 63 cents in the last three weeks, said Rick Brown, senior vice president of Urner Barry, a commodity market analysis firm.

Most of us are accustomed to thinking of the United States as a land of seemingly endless resources, but now we are really starting to bump up against some of our limitations.

Despite all of our technology, the truth is that we are still exceedingly dependent on the weather patterns that produce rain and snow for us.

For years, I have been warning that Dust Bowl conditions would be returning to the western half of the country, and thanks to this multi-year drought we can now see it slowly happening all around us.

And if this drought continues to stretch on, things are going to get worse than this.

Much worse.

Another Reason To Move Away From California: ‘Conditions Are Like A Third-World Country’

Drought - Public DomainAs if anyone actually needed another reason to move out of the crazy state of California, now it is being reported that conditions in some areas of the state “are like a third-world country” due to the multi-year megadrought that has hit the state.  In one California county alone, more than 1,000 wells have gone dry as the groundwater has disappeared.  The state is turning back into a desert, and an increasing number of homes no longer have any water coming out of their taps or showerheads.  So if you weren’t scared away by the wildfires, mudslides, high taxes, crime, gang violence, traffic, insane political correctness, the nightmarish business environment or the constant threat of “the big one” reducing your home to a pile of rubble, perhaps the fact that much of the state could soon be facing Dust Bowl conditions may finally convince you to pack up and leave.  And if you do decide to go, you won’t be alone.  Millions of Californians have fled the state in recent years, and this water crisis could soon spark the greatest migration out of the state that we have ever seen.

Back in 1972, Albert Hammond released a song entitled “It Never Rains In Southern California“, and back then that was considered to be a good thing.

But today, years of very little rain are really starting to take a toll.  In fact, one government official says that conditions in Tulare Country “are like a third-world country”

Near California’s Success Lake, more than 1,000 water wells have failed. Farmers are spending $750,000 to drill 1,800 feet down to keep fields from going fallow. Makeshift showers have sprouted near the church parking lot.

The conditions are like a third-world country,” said Andrew Lockman, a manager at the Office of Emergency Services in Tulare County, in the heart of the state’s agricultural Central Valley about 175 miles (282 kilometers) north of Los Angeles.

As California enters the fourth year of a record drought, its residents and $43 billion agriculture industry have drawn groundwater so low that it’s beyond the reach of existing wells. That’s left thousands with dry taps and pushed farmers to dig deeper as Governor Jerry Brown, a 77-year-old Democrat, orders the first mandatory water rationing in state history.

The mandatory water restrictions that Governor Brown is imposing are going to be very painful for a lot of people.  We have just learned that some California communities will be required to cut their water usage by up to 36 percent

Californians are going to have to start preparing for a dry summer as the dehydrated state prepares for a water crackdown.

In a somewhat controversial move, California water officials drafted a set of mandatory conservation regulations outlining varying degrees to which communities will be required to cut back on water use, ranging from 8 to 36 percent, depending on their history of water consumption.

The regulations — slated for approval in early May — are part of California’s first-ever attempt at mandatory rationing. Earlier this month, Gov. Jerry Brown issued an executive order requiring a 25 percent reduction in urban water use, a historic step in a series of measures aimed at conservation ahead of the state’s fourth consecutive year of drought.

And of course it isn’t just the state of California that is dealing with drought.

All over the southwest United States, we are seeing conditions that we have not witnessed since the days of the Dust Bowl in the 1930s.

In fact, the water level in Lake Mead is now the lowest that it has been since those days, and it is expected to drop even lower in the months ahead

One of the most stunning places to see its impact is at the nation’s largest reservoir, Lake Mead, near Las Vegas. At about 40 percent of capacity, it’s the lowest it’s been since it was built in the 1930s.

“Just to see the rings around it, it’s just … kind of scary, you know,” says Darlene Paige, a visitor from New York. She’s standing at a vista point above the Hoover Dam on the Arizona side of Lake Mead.

That “ring” is the infamous bathtub ring around the rim of the reservoir. The levels have dropped 140 feet over the past 15 years, exposing a white stain on the gravelly brown mountains above the water. The level is forecast to fall an additional 10 feet by this summer.

According to the Government Accountability Office, it is being projected that a total of 40 U.S. states will be dealing with a shortage of water by the end of the next decade.

It has been said that “water is the new oil”, and this is just the beginning.  The truth is that as bad as things are here, we are actually in far better shape than almost everyone else in the world to deal with the emerging global water crisis.  All over the planet supplies of fresh water are disappearing, and the availability of water is going to increasingly become a major geopolitical issue in the years to come.

And even now, the U.S. government is taking all of this very seriously.  In fact, the EPA is already trying to train our kids to take showers instead of baths

Parents across America who struggle to keep their young rambunctious kids clean now have a new obstacle: the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

As part of its effort to help save the planet from the dangers of taking too many baths, the EPA’s WaterSense program is trying to convince kids they should avoid bathtubs in favor of showers, which it says is a far more efficient use of water.

“To save even more water, keep your shower under five minutes long—try timing yourself with a clock next time you hop in!” the “WaterSense for Kids” website says.

For most of our lives, most of us have been able to take water for granted.

But now things are changing, and we are going to have to adjust to these new realities.

So what do you think about this emerging water crisis?  Please feel free to share your thoughts by posting a comment below…

How Many People Will Have To Migrate Out Of California When All The Water Disappears?

Drought - No Swimming Sign - Photo by PeripitusThe 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”

The water outlook in drought-racked California just got a lot worse: Snowpack levels across the entire Sierra Nevada are now the lowest in recorded history — just 6 percent of the long-term average. That shatters the previous low record on this date of 25 percent, set in 1977 and again last year.

California farmers rely on that water.  Last year, farmers had to let hundreds of thousands of acres lie fallow because of the scarcity of water, and it is being projected that this year will be even worse

More than 400,000 acres of farmland were fallowed last year because of scarce water. Credible sources have estimated that figure could double this year.

Fortunately, many farmers have been able to rely on groundwater in recent years, but now wells are running dry all over the state.  Here is more from NPR

Last year was already a tough year at La Jolla Farming in Delano, Calif. Or as farm manager Jerry Schlitz puts it, “Last year was damn near a disaster.”

La Jolla is a vineyard, a thousand-or-so acres of neat lines of grapevines in the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley. It depends on water from two sources: the federal Central Valley Project and wells.

Until last year, Schlitz says, wells were used to supplement the federal water.

“Now, we have nothing but wells. Nothing. There’s no water other than what’s coming out of the ground,” he says.

Last year, one of those wells at La Jolla dried up. The farm lost 160 acres — about a million dollars’ worth of produce, plus the wasted labor and other resources.

Are you starting to understand the scope of the problem?

Despite all of the wonderful technology that we have developed, we are still at the mercy of the weather.

And if this drought continues to drag on, it is absolutely going to cripple a state that contains more than 10 percent of the total U.S. population.

In an attempt to fight the water shortage, Governor Jerry Brown has instituted statewide water restrictions for the first time ever

California announced sweeping statewide water restrictions for the first time in history Wednesday in order to combat the region’s devastating drought, the worst since records began.

Governor Jerry Brown issued the declaration at a press conference in a parched, brown slope of the Sierra Nevada mountains that would normally be covered by deep snow.

“Today, we are standing on dry grass where there should be five feet (1.5 meters) of snow,” Brown said. “This historic drought demands unprecedented action.”

So what will these restrictions include?

The following is a summary from Natural News

• A ban on non-drip irrigation systems for all new homes.

• A requirement for golf courses and cemeteries to “reduce water consumption.” (And yet, the very idea of green golf courses in the middle of a California desert is insane to begin with…)

• Force farmers to report more details on their water usage so that the state government can figure out where all the water is going (and where to restrict it even further).

• Outlawing the watering of grass on public street medians.

• Discussions are also under way to throw “water wasters” in jail for up to 30 days, according to another LA Times article. The most likely source of intel for incarcerating water wasters will be neighborhood snitches who monitor water usage of nearby homes and call the authorities if they see too much water being used.

If the drought does not go on for much longer, these restrictions may be enough.

But what if it continues to intensify?

The following graphic shows the U.S. Drought Monitor map for the state of California for each of the last five years in late March…

California National Drought Monitor

It doesn’t take a genius to see the trend.

And scientists tell us that this might just be the beginning.  There have been megadroughts in that area of the country that have lasted more than 100 years in the past, and there are fears that another megadrought may have begun.  The following comes from National Geographic

California is experiencing its worst drought since record-keeping began in the mid 19th century, and scientists say this may be just the beginning. B. Lynn Ingram, a paleoclimatologist at the University of California at Berkeley, thinks that California needs to brace itself for a megadrought—one that could last for 200 years or more.

As a paleoclimatologist, Ingram takes the long view, examining tree rings and microorganisms in ocean sediment to identify temperatures and dry periods of the past millennium. Her work suggests that droughts are nothing new to California.

“During the medieval period, there was over a century of drought in the Southwest and California. The past repeats itself,” says Ingram, who is co-author of The West Without Water: What Past Floods, Droughts, and Other Climate Clues Tell Us About Tomorrow. Indeed, Ingram believes the 20th century may have been a wet anomaly.

If this is a megadrought, it is just a matter of time until massive migration will become necessary.

In fact, one UN official is already talking about it

If the state continues on this path, there may have to be thoughts about moving people out, said Lynn Wilson, academic chair at Kaplan University and who serves on the climate change delegation in the United Nations.

“Civilizations in the past have had to migrate out of areas of drought,” Wilson said. “We may have to migrate people out of California.”

Wilson added that before that would happen, every option such as importing water to the state would likely occur— but “migration can’t be taken off the table.”

So how many people will ultimately have to leave if this drought continues for many years?

5 million?

10 million?

20 million?

And where will they go?

Please feel free to share what you think by posting a comment below…

California Is Turning Back Into A Desert And There Are No Contingency Plans

Drought - Public DomainOnce 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

As our “wet” season draws to a close, it is clear that the paltry rain and snowfall have done almost nothing to alleviate epic drought conditions. January was the driest in California since record-keeping began in 1895. Groundwater and snowpack levels are at all-time lows. We’re not just up a creek without a paddle in California, we’re losing the creek too.

Data from NASA satellites show that the total amount of water stored in the Sacramento and San Joaquin river basins — that is, all of the snow, river and reservoir water, water in soils and groundwater combined — was 34 million acre-feet below normal in 2014. That loss is nearly 1.5 times the capacity of Lake Mead, America’s largest reservoir.

Statewide, we’ve been dropping more than 12 million acre-feet of total water yearly since 2011. Roughly two-thirds of these losses are attributable to groundwater pumping for agricultural irrigation in the Central Valley. Farmers have little choice but to pump more groundwater during droughts, especially when their surface water allocations have been slashed 80% to 100%. But these pumping rates are excessive and unsustainable. Wells are running dry. In some areas of the Central Valley, the land is sinking by one foot or more per year.

Are you starting to understand why so many experts are so alarmed?

For much more from Famiglietti, check out this 60 Minutes interview.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, essentially the entire state is suffering drought conditions right now.  And as you can see from the map below, most of the state is currently experiencing either the highest or the second-highest classification of drought…

US Drought Monitor California 2015

Nearly 40 million people live in the state of California at the moment.

What are they all going to do when the water is gone?

In some rural areas, reservoirs are already nearly bone dry.  And in other areas, the water quality has gone way down.  For example, in one Southern California neighborhood black water is now coming out of the taps

Residents of a Southern California neighborhood are concerned about the fact that the water flowing out of the taps in their homes is the color black. That’s right; the water coming out of their faucets is indeed black — not gray, not cloudy — but black. Inky, opaque black water that the water company says is okay to drink.

Those who live in Gardena, California, are understandably skeptical when asked to consume water that strongly resembles crude oil or something emitted by a squid. The water reportedly also has an “odor of rotten eggs or sewer smell,” according to one resident.

Perhaps you don’t care about what happens to California.

Perhaps you believe that they are just getting what they deserve.

And you might be right about that.

But the truth is that this is a crisis for all of us, because an enormous amount of our fresh produce is grown in the state.

As I discussed in a previous article, the rest of the nation is very heavily dependent on the fruits and vegetables grown in California.  The following numbers represent California’s contribution to our overall production…

99 percent of the artichokes

44 percent of asparagus

two-thirds of carrots

half of bell peppers

89 percent of cauliflower

94 percent of broccoli

95 percent of celery

90 percent of the leaf lettuce

83 percent of Romaine lettuce

83 percent of fresh spinach

a third of the fresh tomatoes

86 percent of lemons

90 percent of avocados

84 percent of peaches

88 percent of fresh strawberries

97 percent of fresh plums

Without the agricultural production of the state of California, we are in a massive amount of trouble.

And of course there are other areas all over the globe that are going through similar things.  For instance, taps in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paolo are running dry as Brazil experiences the worst drought that it has seen in 80 years.

The world simply does not have enough fresh water left at this point, and that is why water is being called “the new oil”.  The following comes from CBS News

It’s been said that the wars of the 21st century may well be fought over water. The Earth’s population has more than doubled over the last 50 years and the demand for fresh water — to drink and to grow food — has surged along with it. But sources of water like rainfall, rivers, streams, reservoirs, certainly haven’t doubled. So where is all that extra water coming from? More and more, it’s being pumped out of the ground.

Water experts say groundwater is like a savings account — something you draw on in times of need. But savings accounts need to be replenished, and there is new evidence that so much water is being taken out, much of the world is in danger of a groundwater overdraft.

And if scientists are right, what we are experiencing right now may just be the very beginning of our problems.  In fact, one team of researchers has concluded that the Southwestern United States is headed for a “megadrought” that could last for decades

Scientists had already found that the Southwestern United States were at great risk of experiencing a significant megadrought (in this case meaning drought conditions that last for over 35 years) before the end of the 21st century. But a new study published in Science Advances added some grim context to those predictions.

Columbia University climate scientists Jason Smerdon and Benjamin Cook, and Cornell University’s Toby Ault were co-authors on the study. They took data from tree rings and other environmental records of climate from the Southwest and compared them to the projections of 17 different climate models that look at precipitation and soil moisture. When they made the comparison between past and future, they found that all the models agreed: the next big megadrought is coming, and it will be way worse than anything we’ve seen in over 1,000 years–including droughts that have been credited with wiping out civilizations.

Needless to say, along with any water crisis comes a food crisis.

Virtually everything that we eat requires a tremendous amount of water to grow.  And at this point, the world is already eating more food than it produces most years.

So what is going to happen to us as this water crisis gets even worse?

Feel free to share what you think by posting a comment below…

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