Drought: California, 2014

Image Credit: Associated Press

According to California state officials, seventeen rural communities are at risk of running out of water in the next 60-120 days. Water is being rationed, but that buys little time and does nothing to solve the overall issue. As the drought continues, more communities will likely be affected.

15% of U.S. crops are in California. It’s the fruit basket, the vegetable cornucopia, and the dairy case of the country. Farmers now fear they will lose their entire crops to this drought. Those that can afford it are digging deeper and deeper wells to irrigate land. Those that can’t afford this scarce water are forced to let their fields go fallow. Without water, there is less and less grass for animals to graze. Ranchers are forced to pay more for alternative feed or sell off portions of their herds. As drought decimates the land, food prices will rise around the country.

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By John McColgan – Edited by Fir0002 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

With less water comes more fire. This January, in just 24 days, California firefighters responded to 406 wildfires. That’s an average of 16 wildfires per day. Wildfires threaten wildlife, homes, businesses, parks and farmland. More than anything, fire destroys trees. The shade trees provide reduces temperatures, their root systems funnel water into the water table and prevent soil erosion, and their evapotranspiration humidifies the air and is the source of most inland rain. The less trees there are, the less rain there is. Without tree roots to funnel water and hold the soil in place, what rain does come washes away the soil. This can result in mudslides that demolish homes and highways.

Worse still, without soil nothing can grow. Lush life-giving valleys quickly become deserts. As food and water become depleted, poverty, famine and conflict increase. Around the world, the regions suffering the most from resource depletion are also the most obvious hotbeds of political conflict, racial/ethnic violence, and civil or international war.

Image Credit: Associated Press

Watch the video below to meet the people most immediately affected by the drought:

http://player.cnevids.com/embed/541c75db69702d084c000000/52f2ad0169702d21a5080000

May all beings have nutritious food and clean water. May all beings be free of suffering.

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