Ready or Not #46: California Drought

I am just a little bit concerned, as most of us are, about some of the items that are being discussed in our political circles. I’m not going to talk about them, but I am going to discuss something that the Federal government has already done that is going to affect all of us, and quite soon.

I listen to the news, but I didn’t know anything about this until an e-mail was sent to me with an attachment to an article from TIME.com and a news clip from FOX News. The news report was about a two-inch fish known as the Delta Smelt that lives in the water that is used for irrigation for most of California.

Apparently the little minnows get caught in the large irrigation pumps where they pump the water into the two canals that run two-thirds the length of California and provide water to the food producing areas of the San Joaquin Valley. The ecologists complained to Washington saying that these fish were an integral part of the local ecology and that the huge pumps had to be shut down in order to save the minnows; and believe it or not, Washington did just that.

The contracted amount of water promised to the farmers has been cut by 40% since June of this year and now the farmer’s livelihoods are dying along with the crops meant to feed us. The farmers have been using this water since 1968. Third generation farmers are possibly going to lose their land because of the lack of water, and Congress, who originally promised the water to the farmers, are now reneging because of this little fish, that has always been there, and it is going to cost us all quite dearly.

The once fertile lands of California, that used to produce most of our fruits and vegetables that we eat at a very reasonable price, are no longer producing. Governor Schwarzenegger could declare an emergency and turn the water back on, but he hasn’t and once the trees die, it will take several years before newly planted fruit bearing trees will be commercially viable again. California is already in the middle of a natural drought and now the politicians have taken away the plentiful irrigation water they promised to the farmers, leaving an artificially created wasteland behind.

California, Arizona and Florida are our biggest producing states of oranges, grapes, almonds and most of the fruits and vegetables that we eat. Some problems that will be caused by the shortage of crops coming from California are that we will have to start ordering more produce from foreign countries and send even more of our American dollars and jobs out of the United States. Other problems are the additional concerns that come with the already skyrocketing unemployment in California, that will bleed into surrounding states and last, but not least, the health risks of possibly more e-coli and salmonella scares because the production of the imported produce isn’t as closely monitored to the standards that American farmers adhere to.

Look out for your wallets – I have a feeling that food prices are going to go up. It is almost like the politicians don’t believe the American people are having a hard enough time with the economy in the first place. What was/is the government thinking?

Now would be a good time to think about getting a variety of seeds to grow your own garden next year. Some of you may have concerns that you don’t have an area to garden in, but you do have other options if not: you can always container garden (less weeding, but high yield) or you can make a deal with someone who has a garden plot and water (water is very important to growing food, as California well knows) and weed and tend the garden, and then share the produce.

This isn’t the end of the world, but with all of the unstable times, and unstable politicians and their unstable programs and ideas, this would be a very good time to go to the food storage worksheets, posted at www.apreparedhome.com, find out exactly what you need in your food storage (including seeds) and consider what the prophet Brigham Young once said, “You can’t plow a field by just turning it over in your mind,” so stop thinking about building your food storage up and just DO IT!

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