The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently released an over 3600-page report on the latest climate change research and potential impacts on society. According to the study, the biggest impact will be on agricultural systems. The biggest challenge is the demand for water and how much water is available for agriculture.
Who Is The IPCC
The IPCC is an internationally accepted authority on climate change, and its work is widely agreed upon by leading climate scientists as well as governments. It is an intergovernmental body of the United Nations and is responsible for advancing knowledge on human-induced climate change. They are well respected and their information is worth consideration.
The U.S. Southwest Will Be Profoundly Different
According to the report, water use in the Southwest is reaching a tipping point. The Colorado River supplies water to approximately 40 million people from Denver, Colorado to San Diego, California. Flows of the Colorado river shrank by 20% over the past 21 years of megadrought in the West. If the flow shrinks by the 35% predicted between now and 2050 there will not be enough water for both food and people. Remember California is the biggest producer of food in the U.S.
Lake Mead and Lake Powell
At the end of 2021 Lake Mead and Lake Powell, the nation’s largest and second-largest water reservoirs were at 35% and 30% capacity respectively. According to the U.S. drought monitor, 94% of the West is in some form of drought.
Currently Worldwide 4 Billion Out Of 7.8 Billion Experience Water Scarcity For At Least One Month Per Year
Half the people having this experience live in India or China. According to the report, climate change will lead to further reductions in available water to these countries.
During The Next 50 Years, Many Parts Of The U.S. could see freshwater supplies reduced by one third
The report provides data showing 96 of 204 basins in trouble the water issues will not just hit California or the West. The Great Plains, the South and Midwest will experience water supply and demand challenges as well.
Wayne Gretzky taught us not to skate to where the puck is but to skate to where the puck is going. We have the technology today to manage out of the issues presented in the IPCC report. Jain Logic and Jain Unity are great examples of technology that help reduce water use in agriculture and landscapes.
Using a technological approach to water issues sometimes involves a shift in mindset that doesn’t come easy and a willingness to expand people’s comfort zones. Having said that, as technology becomes ever more important to growers and landscapers and the pace of change continues to accelerate, we have to find ways of better-integrating technology into their overall business strategy.
The good news is the average age of a beginning farmer is 46 years old. 26% of beginning farmers are under 35. Farming is making a comeback with a generation of people who enjoy technology. According to Willie Stargell, the future lies with the youth of today and in this case, there is lots to be optimistic about.