Saturday, January 24, 2009

Weather or Climate: Calilfornia's future at stake

There is a lot of speculation about the weather. We tend to think of the weather as being cyclical. Summer / winter. If you live in the Southwest, rain / drought. The rain that we are having this week removed the possibility that this will be the driest January on record, but the fact remains that the drought conditions from the past two years are still with us. Most of the rain soaked into the ground and there was little runoff.

Four major California newspapers remind their readers just what this all means. Follow me to the full story by clicking Read more!.

Four California newspapers have stories today on the rain and what it does not mean.

Mike Taugher, environmental reporter for the Contra Costa Times writes: Rain not enough to fix water woes
Depleted reservoirs, a snowpack that still is expected to be about one-third lower than average after the clouds blow away and a raft of new water rules meant to revive collapsing fish populations are combining to severely pinch water supplies.

The nation's largest irrigation district, the 600,000-acre Westlands Water District, told growers this week it expected to get zero Delta water this year, something that has never happened before.
This theme was echoed in the other stories.

The Visalia Times-Delta headlines it as an economic problem with no immediate solution. Water shortage could cost 40,000 ag jobs, $1.15b in income. At least we know the scope.

The Fresno Bee also covers the agricultural impact. Forecast dry for West Valley: Growers could see no federal water deliveries if storms don't come.

These newspapers all treat our current rain as a weather event, part of the normal patterns and predictable. This just happens to be a year when La NiƱa effects control the rain.

The Merced Sun-Star points out the decisions that we need to make about using the water that we have. Water: Cities, agriculture compete for precious, dwindling resource
Ever-expanding cities in Merced County -- still minor users in the broader picture -- are increasingly competing for water with farmers and the environment. This urban-rural-ecological division wouldn't be as much of an issue if climate change wasn't bearing down on the age-old weather pattern people have come to expect.

Less rain in the future will mean less water for more people, crops and local ecosystems.

In preparation for this looming shift, state and federal authorities are trying to lessen the effects of both climate change and its human causes.

But local land use, development and their impacts on water planning comprise another issue. Today, a collection of interests compete over the same sources of water. The success or failure of local preparations for the impending water crisis will make all the difference.
Only the Merced Sun-Star gets to the real problem. Given the reality that the climate change is happening all around us, it is more likely than not that this year's rainfall will be the norm for future years. The land use / agricultural impact of such drastic change is still not being considered; not by the media, defintelyh not by our politicians.

This is a great opportunity for Green thinking, should we care to use it. Green candidates have a message that this state needs to hear and I mean all over this State. In the Central Valley, we need Green Party Candidates to pull back the curtain and reveal what others are afraid to deal with... that there is nothing in agricultural or natural resource policies that will provide for such changes.

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