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  1. #1
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    Default Drought in California

    If you buy food produced in CA (I'm guessing we all do), this is really not good news.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/0...usaolp00000009
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  2. #2
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    The price of beef is because of the now several year's long drought in the SW.
    We have not had any rain to grow grass for the past several years, have no cattle now for two, this will be the third year, as does everyone here in several states.

    I think the last figures was the beef cattle herd was at a 62 year low.

    The drought in California is adding to that, right now selling their cattle, but won't have many to buy later, if it does rain, or only at way too high prices.

    That all is impacting beef prices now.

    Prices for other commodities will now continue to increase, how much depending on where else other producers can pick up and add to the demand, now more profitable with the higher prices.

    Plus imports, those are already high and, if demand is there at higher prices, more will be imported to fill that demand.



  3. #3
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    I'm not nearly as worried about beef as fruits, nuts and vegetables...since CA grows one half of the country's supply.

    Interesting how much water is used to produce 1 lb of food.

    1 lb potatoes - 119 gal water
    1 lb tomatoes - 24 gal water
    1 lb rice - 449 gal water
    1 gal milk - 880 gal water
    1 lb beef - 1799 gal water
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by LauraKY View Post
    I'm not nearly as worried about beef as fruits, nuts and vegetables...since CA grows one half of the country's supply.

    Interesting how much water is used to produce 1 lb of food.

    1 lb potatoes - 119 gal water
    1 lb tomatoes - 24 gal water
    1 lb rice - 449 gal water
    1 gal milk - 880 gal water
    1 lb beef - 1799 gal water
    That chart would be more true if it was working by the same measure for all, like a serving and the nutrition you get from that one serving, as a percentage of the calories necessary to live on.

    Remember, beef is a very nutrient rich and calorie dense product.
    Don't need much of it, while it would take many tomatoes to live on, if you could do it at all.

    "Beef" can be grown in many ways, not all use much water.
    Vegetables, not so much.

    That is truly comparing apples to acorns.


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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by LauraKY View Post
    I'm not nearly as worried about beef as fruits, nuts and vegetables...since CA grows one half of the country's supply.

    Interesting how much water is used to produce 1 lb of food.

    1 lb potatoes - 119 gal water
    1 lb tomatoes - 24 gal water
    1 lb rice - 449 gal water
    1 gal milk - 880 gal water
    1 lb beef - 1799 gal water
    That chart would be more true if it was working by the same measure for all, like a serving and the nutrition you get from that one serving, as a percentage of the calories necessary to live on.

    Remember, beef is a very nutrient rich and calorie dense product.
    Don't need much of it, while it would take many tomatoes to live on, if you could do it at all.

    "Beef" can be grown in many ways, not all use much water.
    Vegetables, not so much.

    That is truly comparing apples to acorns.


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  6. #6
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    They had a story in the CBS news this evening on this CA drought and it was indeed terrible.
    Our average rain is 18 1/2" a year, but theirs in places is 60" a year?
    That is a much larger difference, their plants and water use is geared to that many times more, so they are much worse off.

    One fellow had a large reservoir that evidently fills in every year, now completely dry.

    All our playa lakes and dams are dry and have been for years, but that is not so rare for us, they tend to be more dry than hold water.



  7. #7
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    I really feel for California. I have family there.

    At the same time, I can't help but be angry with the developers who made their fortunes building, building and building California up with full knowledge that this was a possibility.

    Why does no one ever listen to the experts? Maybe they get it wrong sometimes, but when the majority are warning against development and limited resources, it's criminal when they are ignore by greedy politicians and greedy developers.

    Our economy has been built on non-stop development, more houses, more cars, more tvs. We heading straight towards, not just a recession, or a depression, but leaving little better than a third world country to our children and grandchildren.
    “You made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in You."

    -St Augustine


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  8. #8
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    Time to get serious about the kitchen garden....
    Oh..right...they predict more snow....
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    GNU Terry Prachett



  9. #9
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    Microbovine, I grew up in San Diego and I agree... The county's population has tripled since 1964 when I was born, mostly in the county areas... Can we say "sprawl"? Actually, I know populations grows and more houses must be built, but so many have huge lawns that the owners will irrigate year round. In a place where there is 12" of rain in a good year! I'd much rather see the water go to growing food.
    You have to have experiences to gain experience.

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  10. #10
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    Although the increase in population in California impacts water usage, over 80% of the state's water is used in agriculture, delivered via a complex and extensive series of irrigation canals (unlined and open to the air - so water is lost during delivery both to the ground and to evaporation. Water conservation began to be effectively adopted in urban areas after a drought in the mid 1970's ... in contrast farmers have planted increasing acreage in thirsty, high return crops.)

    California currently produces about 80% of the world's almonds, 70% of which are exported abroad. Almond trees require a lot of water, as do cotton crops and rice paddies.

    California has a Mediterranean climate, with long dry springs/summers/falls followed by usually wet winters. Last year was the driest year in a hundred years in the SF Bay Area. We've had only one day of light sprinkles since Jan 1.

    At the moment, there are hundreds/thousands of salmon bearing roe and sperm gathering offshore, waiting for streams filled by winter rains to break through the sandbars blocking outlets to the ocean. This year these anadromous fish are not likely to find a way to return to their natal streams to reproduce... potentially a loss of an entire year's cohort.

    Even before the drought farms and fisheries competed for water - we are now beyond the critical stage, facing the possible loss of entire salmon subspecies, not to mention other impacts on an already stressed environment. Sierra resort towns, already struggling economically after the loss of revenue due to last summer's Rim fire and closure of Yosemite, have been waiting in vain for the snow that would attract skiers. (and off season farmers often count on picking up extra income working in ski resorts in the winter.)

    The recent fires in SoCal were reminders that this year there is no winter break from wildfires. Trees are already blooming and some birds and mammals have also started to prepare to reproduce ahead of their usual schedule. It feels very strange to hear finches sing and feel warm dry area when the sun is still low in the southern sky. It's very disturbing... lots of worried faces at the farmers' market.

    If you live in an area where you can plant a veggie garden I encourage you to do so .... produce and fruit will be expensive this summer.


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  11. #11
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    This is on the news 24/7 here. Getting worse every day. They state water board announced today they will release NO water--that means it's all up to what everyone has now.

    Southern CA is actually in better shape because, and I'm not sure how this is working, they have been keeping their reservoirs full and we haven't. I flew over Folsom "Lake" (east of Sacramento) about a month ago, and the boat docks where high and dry a good 100 yards from the water. Apparently now people are going for walks on the bottom and exploring the old mining town it flooded.

    They say melons will be the thing that we will not see, and some nuts. If this continues next year, it will affect more. But, and I don't know if this is still happening there used to be RICE fields north of Sacramento, meaning the flooded them in the summer. You see the same thing driving down I 5 (middle of the central valley.) The big farmers are spraying water in the air to irrigate crops in the middle of summer.

    Hopefully this will finally force us to get our crap together. This is usually the wet time of year. I have been out in shorts and a tank top since November. We had a spit of mist a few days ago, and nothing else. Snowpack is about 6-12% of normal.

    I lived through the drought when I was a kid and we let the yellow mellow, flushed with buckets, and saved bath water. This looks much, much worse. I'm really concerned for the horses. Luckily my barn is on spring water that is actually still flowing, but no one is going to be growing hay, and Oregon and Washington are light on rain, too, so I don't know we can get it there.


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  12. #12
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    I just read a very enlightening book called Landscapes and Cycles. Written by a professional conservationist who understands land use issues intimately, it delves into very detailed explanations of the El Nino/La Nina phenomena, how they work, what happens, and especially how they interact with the Pacific Decadal Oscillation to produce the whole enchilada you're seeing right now.

    Along the way it pretty much lays to rest the CO2 question. Very highly recommended! While it won't make the drought go away any quicker, you'll have a fuller understanding and better appreciation of why it's happening.

    Best of luck to everyone caught up in it! Creativity will be the key.


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  13. #13
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    I've never understood the "some of the most fertile growing land" description of most areas west of the Rockies when the majority of rain gets stuck to the east of the Rockies.
    The drought out there has been horrid, I feel for those who live there.
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    Hold onto the bridle!
    Jump in the line!
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  14. #14
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    The CA central valley is some of the best growing land in the world because generally the climate is Mediterranean and has a longer growing year than east of the Sierra Nevada, and has the water resources from the whole Sierra Nevada snowpack to the east. It used to be all growing land. Now there are a LOT of housing developments on it.


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  15. #15
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    The land in the central valley does contain some of the most fertile soil in the world.. unfortunately salt is accumulating in the soil as the irrigation water evaporates. The old natural patterns of run-off to the Delta have been interrupted.

    Salinity in the Central Valley:A Critical Problem

    Humans truly often have the Midas touch. (Anybody remember the Kesterson Reservoir and the photos of deformed birds?)


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  16. #16
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    Now this is interesting. Amish hydroponics, uses 90% less water.

    http://futuregrowing.wordpress.com/2...ty-in-indiana/
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  17. #17
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    Well, I just don't understand why even in a drought I always, always, get rain right after I have hay delivered. Last week the drought map showed all kinds of reds and yellows of extreme drought in California and there was a little tiny dot of green, symbolizing rain, hovering right over my horses. What are the odds? I mean, really, what are the odds?


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  18. #18
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    The west experienced many, many, decades of abnormally high rainfall. Before that, all those descriptions of the dusty, dry west were true. Most if the wet 20th century was an historical anomaly. That is also the time when all irrigation systems and farming methods were set up, as well as an incredible increase in the number of people.

    I remember learning that in one of my ag classes at CSU. I think that professor was right. I left Colorado in the late 90s and my last summer on the Front Range had tall green grasses, flowers, plenty of bugs and plenty of rain. My family in Colorado says that was the last year like that.

    California, and the rest of the west, may be in for a tough time for many generations. I hope not. I hope this is just an El Nino thing, but what about the rest of the west?
    “You made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in You."

    -St Augustine


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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by microbovine View Post
    The west experienced many, many, decades of abnormally high rainfall. Before that, all those descriptions of the dusty, dry west were true. Most if the wet 20th century was an historical anomaly. That is also the time when all irrigation systems and farming methods were set up, as well as an incredible increase in the number of people.

    I remember learning that in one of my ag classes at CSU. I think that professor was right. I left Colorado in the late 90s and my last summer on the Front Range had tall green grasses, flowers, plenty of bugs and plenty of rain. My family in Colorado says that was the last year like that.

    California, and the rest of the west, may be in for a tough time for many generations. I hope not. I hope this is just an El Nino thing, but what about the rest of the west?
    This is exactly right. And historically the highest high, low, and average temperatures ever recorded were ALL were seen between the 1910's and the 1940's. Major contributor, along with poor land use practices, to the Dust Bowl.

    Of course, those years are conveniently left out of the "warmists"' massaged data.


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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lady Eboshi View Post
    This is exactly right. And historically the highest high, low, and average temperatures ever recorded were ALL were seen between the 1910's and the 1940's. Major contributor, along with poor land use practices, to the Dust Bowl.

    Of course, those years are conveniently left out of the "warmists"' massaged data.
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  21. #21
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    We haven't had a lot of rain in the past couple of years. But water policy and agricultural issues in the Central Valley have been at odds for much longer. I drove from so Cal to no Cal and back on interstate 5 last week and it heartbreaking. It gives you a different outlook for the future of the state. It is just mile after mile of fallow fields and dead orchards unless you are in the districts of the 2 congress men who traded a yes vote on Obamacare for increased water allocation.

    The reason southern California is in somewhat better shape is because we get a lot of water from the Colorado river instead of the Delta. Current green water restrictions as well as a concentration of wealth among certain farmers means that agriculture is much more susceptible to harm in dry years. And this year is one of the driest ever.

    Here is a good article article about water policy in California. It's a couple of years old but provides a lot of history and demonstrates that the state's current water crisis, particularly in the north, has more to do with what's coming out of our state's interesting politics than what isn't coming out of the sky.

    http://www.city-journal.org/2011/21_...nia-water.html
    Last edited by nhwr; Feb. 2, 2014 at 11:25 AM.
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