In addition to the other Horsemen of the Apocalypse riding around, Plague, War, Death, we also appear to have harbingers of Famine in droughts throughout the western United States. Droughts in California have been worsened by overpumping, leaving many people in rural areas of the state suddenly out of well water. Laws passed in 2014 gave local groundwater agencies until 2040 to find ways to achieve sustainability. However, the next drought came much sooner than politicians may have hoped.
And groundwater is important. While California has found many ways to move water across the entire state, of it’s more than 7,400 public water systems, most of these rely on water being taken straight from the ground.
Many communities, particularly poor and rural, expect to be affected. What remains a major concern is that pumping can’t really stop. California is an agricultural juggernaut with certain counties that would not even exist without agricultural industry. From almonds to citrus fruit. water is needed not just for the state, but the rest of the country. The wheels of industry keep turning because they have to and there are few, if any, protections in place .
Elsewhere, federal officials have declared cuts to usage in the Colorado River for the first time ever. The river, which provides water for much of the Western U.S., from Denver to L.A., is beginning to dry out thanks to a years long drought. The river provides water to approximately 40 million people for irrigation and supplying hydroelectric plants. With the river beginning to dry out, water reservoirs are shrinking, some, like Lake Powell’s Glen Canyon Dam, are at the point where the flow is so small that the hydroelectric dam is forced to shut. The dam can’t generate electricity if the water level drops below 3,491 ft. The Glen Canyon Dam is currently at 3,551 ft, 32% of it’s capacity.
So this is all fun. Hopefully, people will get a break. But it’s these sorts of problems that we will continue to see as climate change worsens and nothing significant is done to ameliorate its effects. Everything spins out from critical aspects of our infrastructure. From how much something costs in the grocery store, to whether you can take a shower in the morning. Deeply foreboding.
Welcome to Thursday! Please be excellent to each other in the comments. The Mayor McSquirrel Rule remains in effect. As the Covid-19 pandemic continues, if you have not been vaccinated please consider finding time to get an appointment. If you have had only one dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, do not forget about the second dose! Even if you are vaccinated, please continue to maintain social distancing measures, wear masks in public areas in accordance with CDC guidelines in regard to your own vaccination status.