Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Water water not everywhere

News item --

Farmers in (California’s) drought-stricken agricultural basin will finally get a meager supply of federal water to help irrigate crops this summer. Federal officials said storms in March allowed them to increase the amount of water sent to customers south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Water districts that supply some of the nation’s largest farms in that region will receive 10 percent of the amount they are entitled to under government contracts.

Article in The New York Times, Associated Press, 4/22/09

California has been -- and still is -- the premier producer of the nation's fruits and vegetables, to the point where a water problem in California (and California has always had water problems -- see Cadillac Desert, by Marc Reisner circa 1986 for an exhaustive discussion of the problem) can create a situation where prices skyrocket at the nation's grocery stores.

Few Americans are likely to be seriously inconvenienced by this, for we remain a wealthy country and compared to most other places in the world, spend a shockingly low percentage of our income on food.

But I believe it illustrates a need that many recognize but few at the political level where things can be done, i.e. our national and state "leaders," wish to acknowledge. We as a nation (and let's include Canada and Mexico in this as well) are dependent upon California foodstuffs to a degree not dissimilar to the U.S. dependence upon Middle East oil. We as nations -- North America -- need to diversify our sources.

More in future blogs....

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