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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

I Can't Imagine Why California's Down To One Year of Water Left

Parched earth
Under California's new "restrictions," everyone can still have giant lawns, golf courses, etc., and they can still give them unlimited water, but they can only do it about every other day. And there's little or no punishment for breaking the rules. Golly, I can't imagine why they're down to one year of water left.

Meanwhile, the corporate farms that use most of the state's water remain completely unregulated as they race to steal the last drops from California's underground aquifers, which would take decades to refill even if everyone stopped siphoning them tomorrow. Wildlife that don't have water pumped to their doorstep are dropping like flies. And climate change is making the problem worse, faster.

Gizmodo's Alissa Walker lists some water restrictions with teeth that would help make sure California is still inhabitable in 2017. But until California politicians are willing to force its farms to sip instead of gulp, the state will continue down the road to disaster.

60 Minutes took a look at California's looming water crisis late last year. It's a good story with one big short coming - it never mentions climate change.
Crossposted at The Green Miles 

An addendum from your faithful blog queen (ME!):

A friend who lives in the San Jose area wrote me of their drought conditions. We were making  whistling past the graveyard sort of bon mots about my nine+ feet of snow this winter as compared to his epic drought. I suggested he purchase rain barrels—a gross of them.
 His reply:
Rain barrels at Costco are hundreds of dollars. Crazy. 
Really? How can this be? This isn't exactly high tech stuff. I Googled. A 112 gallon Vino rain barrel is $429.99. Ouch!
They need to figure out an easy way to filter sea water. I just read that some Antarctic glacier is melting and could cause an 11-foot rise in sea levels. We need to siphon off some of that and bring it inland. There's some company making a thin membrane that filters sea water. Maybe we need to get more desperate before the innovation starts. 
One company working on this is, surprisingly, Lockheed Martin. Given Lockheed's main production line (tools for the war machine) I'm nervous about what else they'll sell this for. At the end of the article:
Lockheed officials see other applications for Perforene as well, from dialysis in healthcare to cleaning chemicals from the water used in hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," of oil and gas wells.
Does this mean that the fracking cheerleaders will have more leverage, more oomph behind their sell jobs—HEY, it's now AOK to fuck up the planet because... Perforene! 

 Who knows.

BUT, in addition to the nascent desertization of California, over a billion people in developing countries are without adequate access to clean water. Wars over water aren't that far off. Without clean water poverty remains an inescapable hell.

I dearly hope other companies, ones whose success isn't dependent on perpetual war, get into the game and start working on this