The water shortage problem in America is to a great degree regional and centered in the west. It is also principally an agricultural/rural issue. I have lived almost my entire life in the suburbs or to a less degree exurbs of the Buffalo, Tampa and Raleigh. The fact that I am not directly impacted by it doesn’t mean I am not concerned about it. It took a turn for the worse this week and that item was overwhelmed by the Afghanistan news.
On Monday the Bureau of Reclamation, a part of the Interior Department, issued an order for Tier 1 reductions of water from the Colorado River. This will effect the amount of water available to farmers in Arizona, Nevada and in Mexico.
This action was necessitated by falling water levels in reservoirs along the Colorado. Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in America is at 34% of capacity. The culprit is undeniably (unless you are a believer in right wing mythology): climate change.
I’m not a farmer but I know it is basically impossible to grow crops without water. Some crops need more water than others but all food crops need water. Some farmers in the region are looking for alternate sources of irrigation water – they are few and far between and certainly are neither infinite or self sustaining – the net results will be higher prices and lower availability for certain foods.
While I am neither in the region immediately impacted nor involved in agriculture I will be adversely affected as will every American. The really scary part is that this is basically a warning shot across the bow and it is being largely ignored. The shortage didn’t happen overnight or as the result of one bad year; it has been building up for decades and has been largely ignored. Remember, the only political party of consequence in the world that denies climate change and man’s impact on it is the American Republican Party.
If we continue to ignore climate change it will win! It is that simple. Am I an expert on agriculture? No. Do I live in the western United States? No. Am I concerned? Yes!
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