BY: JOHN MROCH
During the Great Depression, people from all over the country fled from the dried-up Midwest to the promising golden coast of California.
Nowadays, California’s own soils are drying out and rivers are running low – putting a majority of America’s crops in jeopardy, according to aljazeera.com - due to the worst drought the golden state has experienced in over 100 years.
However, last week, Gov. Jerry Brown proposed a $687 million emergency drought-relief plan –according to latimes.com - that is intended to help Californians make it through this crisis.
The legislation could be approved within a matter of weeks, when the State Water Resources Control Board, “would be directed to expand the use of recycled water and storm-water runoff,” according to the latimes.com.
Most of the money for the drought-relief package - $549 million - comes from “already-allocated state funds that the bill would allow to be spent sooner than planned on local and regional infrastructure projects that help conserve or recycle water,” according to aljazeera.com.
President Obama also announced last week that California would be given a major aid package -$180 million – in order to compensate for farmers who have lost livestock and crops.
Brown’s drought-relief plan would also give money for emergency food and water for communities in need, and housing for farmworkers who lose work from the drought, according to the latimes.com.
However, Republicans have disputed the bill, saying that it does not focus enough on a long-term water solution, according to bbc.com. Some have even stated that Brown ought to ease environmental restrictions in order to better access what water California does have, according to Aljazeera.com.
But is there even time to worry about a long-term solution?
In the North Bay area city of Healdsburg, “People can water landscaping only on certain days, while washing cars and filling swimming pools are prohibited,” according to the sfgate.com.
The sfgate.com article also listed 17 “towns and water districts that could run out of water within 100 days if nothing is done to enhance their supplies.” The cities are split between 11 counties: Fresno, Madera, Mariposa, Kern, Amador, Mendocino, Nevada, Placer, Santa Cruz, and Sonoma, showing just how wide a range of cities are in danger of becoming water-less.
Southern California is doing better than those northern and central coast counties, however.
“Southern California…has enough water in storage to get through this year and into next without mandatory cutbacks,” says spokesman for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California Bob Muir, in a usastoday.com article.
This California water crisis is only part of the bigger picture. This drought has sapped much of the Colorado River as well, largely affecting the American Southwest: Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming.
Naturally, we all want to blame someone for the drought. But, after 14 years of reduced rainfall, there was going to be a decrease in water sooner or later.
The best thing to do at this point is cut out unnecessary usage of water.