I haven’t plugged someone else’s blog in this space before, but the seriousness of the water issue compels me to do it in this case. Michael Dimock’s comments also appeared on the Op-Ed page of the SF Chronicle. I don’t know what balance may be possible among the competing water demands of urban users, farmers, and the environment, but open warfare on the topic is likely to be a disaster for all.
Shades of theDust Bowl? Sadly droughts seem to have a sense for times of economic distress. While there can never be a good time for a devastating drought, this is a particularly tough time for California agriculture already.
I certainly don’t have all the answers, but a few things seem clear. Recreational water use, such as golf courses and pools will have to face a great deal of pressure. Water reclamation and conservation must be taken to new levels. And while it may seem transparently self-serving for me to say so, we must ensure that agriculture receives an appropriate share. Forcing food prices through the roof, and compelling people to shift away from healthy fruit and vegetable options when they are already in economic distress will only compound the problems we face.
Perhaps this is a terrible yet timely opportunity for national food policy makers to recognize the role that California’s fruits and vegetables play in our food system.