California Drying Up

Climate models show that California -- the source of one third of America's food supply -- is running out of its reliable water supply.
June 15, 2009, 6am PDT | Michael Dudley
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"Here are some not-so-fun facts: California's agricultural sector grows approximately one-third of the nation's food supply and is nourished by diverted rivers and streams filled yearly by runoff from its prodigious Sierra Nevada snowpack, as well as groundwater pumping and other less-reliable methods. That snowpack -- which once sparked the first, but not the last, water war that helped transform a semi-arid Los Angeles into an unsustainable oasis less populous than only New York City -- is disappearing fast.

According to recent climate science, California is never going to get its regularly scheduled snowpack back. Like other geographies once sustained by an uninterrupted supply of water, California is going dry. And when it dries up, so does its cities, its people and its future.

As [Secretary of Energy Steven] Chu explained, cities like Los Angeles will not have to think about why it can't hose off its driveways or take long showers; it will have to think about whether it is going to run out of water altogether."

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Published on Saturday, June 6, 2009 in AlterNet
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