Friday, February 24, 2012
The government-imposed California dust bowl
Of all the problems within California — pension and budget deficits, high unemployment, an over-eager environmentalist agenda and a failed taxpayer-funded green energy firm — add a government-made dust bowl to the list.
Yes, California farmers who produce much of the produce that our nation depends upon are being strangled by a government imposed water shortage. To understand this situation, you first need to know that two-thirds of the state’s water comes from Northern California while two-thirds of California’s population is in the southern part of the state. But the most disconcerting part of the water problems in California involves the very middle of the state — the Central Valley.
The Central Valley can also go by another name: the salad bowl of the nation and quite possibly the world.
Agricultural production in the Central Valley of California accounts for $26 billion in total sales and 38 percent of the Valley’s labor force. Farmers in this area grow more than half the nation’s vegetables, fruits and nuts. In fact, if you buy domestic artichokes, pistachios, walnuts or almonds, there is about a 99 percent chance that they were all grown in California.
But in order for these products to grow, the Central Valley needs water — and the past few years the government has been withholding that vital resource.
Much of California’s water is pumped from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to the federally owned Central Valley Project (CVP) and the California State Water Project (SWP). To understand the size, scope and capacity of these water systems, with California boasting a population of roughly 37 million people, these two projects deliver water to more than 27 million people. The CVP alone provides water to more than 600 family-owned farms, which produce more than 60 high-quality commercial food and fiber crops sold for the fresh, dry, canned and frozen food markets.
However, since both projects are under government control, something of a water war has ensued in California between Central Valley farmers and an environmentalist-driven agenda. The federal government is retaining water in the Delta to protect a three-inch fish called the delta smelt and other salmon species in the name of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Therefore those who depend on California’s unique water systems are faced with an ever-diminishing supply and are forced to make some tough choices.
Get full story here.