California drought: How serious?

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, February 10, 2016

I’m sure you’ve heard about the lack of rain in sunny California. And perhaps you’ve seen pictures of the low water levels in the reservoirs.
But did you know that this drought has been going on for four years with no substantial relief in view?
After the reservoirs got very low, Californians greatly increased pumping from underground aquifers with the result that serious land subsidence is now occurring. I feel for these folks because many, maybe most, are going to lose everything. We are going to be affected too and the goal of this article is to let you know how and what you can do about it. But like many natural disasters, time is fairly short, perhaps only a year or two, and there are some “land mines” to avoid.
California with lots of water is very fertile and has became a major agricultural area for the U. S. About half of all the fruits, nuts, and vegetables plus a lot of beef consumed within the U. S. comes from California. But with rapidly dwindling water supplies, much of this agriculture is not being replanted and all of it is in danger of disappearing. Even if normal rains were to return immediately, it would take many years to repair the damage; and no such miracle is even remotely forecast. So, how does that affect us? How about much higher prices for food in our grocery stores and the disappearance of some items altogether.
So, how do we minimize the impact on ourselves if this California drought continues? First it’s clear to me that other parts of our country, including us, need to start growing more food to make up for the nutritional loss from California. Second, it would be helpful if the food grown locally were consumed locally because that gives us regional diversity and reduces the costs of refrigeration and shipping. Third, food stockpiles are great but may need to be hidden from confiscation and theft. So, how do you start doing your part to protect yourself and family?
Our temperatures and rainfall are conducive to growing food all year long here in South Mississippi and there are many ways to grow food. Besides traditional dirt gardening there is container gardening, hydro-ponics and aqua-ponics. You Tube on the Internet has numerous how-to videos for all the types of gardening and, of course, the libraries have many books on gardening, cooking, and preserving what you grow. The Extension Service is very helpful in recommending what to plant and when. And don’t forget to stockpile a variety of seeds as you never know when they may be in short supply.
The California food crisis looks like it is coming and fairly soon. Even if it isn’t as bad as it looks now, you will still be ahead by increasing your self-sufficiency and that of your family.
How-to information is readily available and the cost is still very affordable. For your sake, don’t delay.

By Randy Holland

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