People all over the United States are quickly waking up to the fact the California drought impacts the entire nation. Governor Jerry Brown last week imposed mandatory water restrictions across the state. The reason – the state’s four-year drought. The drought in California has lasted much longer than 4 years. The current drought really started in 2007. We had one season of decent rainfall November 2010 to March 2011 and the drought was declared over in 2011 only to have drought-declared again in 2012. One season of rainfall was not really sufficient and as a result, California is really in the 8th year of drought and the ripples are being felt across the U.S.
California farmers supply the country with almost half the fruits and vegetables consumed. We learned last week 80% of the nations strawberries are grown in California and now learn 99 percent of artichokes, 99 percent of walnuts, 97 percent of kiwis, 97 percent of plums, 95 percent of celery, 95 percent of garlic, 89 percent of cauliflower, 71 percent of spinach, and 69 percent of carrots are grown in California. This is just the start of the list. As prices of fruits and vegetables increase the ripple effect we see is changes in health. This will be especially true for Americans earning lower wages. We know as the price of fresh fruit and vegetables climb more grains are eaten. Refined grains with added sugar will be even more attractive due to the price increase of fresh vegetables and fruits and we will experience greater challenges in obesity. The ripple effect from that will be a greater cost for health care and insurance.
Thousands of directly relatable jobs on farms will be a loss due to the drought. It was estimated over 17,000 jobs were lost in 2014 due to the drought. This has a ripple effect on other agricultural industries like processing plants, fertilizer, and seed companies. This has a lasting effect on rural communities. Many people move from these small towns to larger cities. Others who stay end up spending less because they earn less money. This contributes to an overall lower standard of living for the community.
Less Money To Spend
Workers and consumers earning less while spending more on food will have less money. This means a decrease in spending on the other things we like to spend money on. This year in particular, due to lower gasoline prices consumers are feeling more confident about prices of goods and services dropping across the U.S. due to lower gas prices. This confidence could be quickly offset by higher food prices.
What To Do
One way to solve this problem is by putting a value on conservation. You don’t need to “save” water, you just need to decide not using as much of it is worth something to you. You get this by figuring out your dollar savings. You also get this when someone pays a rebate back to water users who use less. You will find consumers will get very creative about saving water when they know they can earn a rebate. No one is telling them to use less or how to useless. They just know if they use less they save and earn. There is one company I know of today who is providing rebates on water and energy reductions, MeterHero. You can learn all about their programs on their website or on #landscapechat 11:00 am PDT tomorrow April 8th. Please check them out. There are many additional solutions. Responsibly managing the water you have now is key. Drip irrigation, smart controllers, right plant right place are just a few of the solutions. Raising awareness is also key, so please continue to share the message of water conservation and let us know how we can help. If you enjoyed this post please consider subscribing to the blog and following me on Twitter @H2oTrends