There ain’t a drop of rain predicted for California and this IS the rainy season. The California drought will raise food prices nationwide. In California, the cost of electricity and water will spike, the dryness increase the possibility of big wildfires, and there no doubt will be some seriously nasty water wars.
The Pacific Institute tells Californians what’s coming.
Urban water agencies will roll out a wide range of voluntary and mandatory water “conservation” programs.
Sacramento has already done this, ordering mandatory 20% cuts in usage
Some farmers and water districts with “junior” water rights will see water allocations from state and federal irrigation projects severely cut.
Water law is convoluted and archaic. Sooner or later, this Gordian Knot will be cut and replaced with something sensible. Events will force the issue. This isn’t just within California either. The Imperial Valley in California gets 20% of Colorado River water. If cities and towns in Arizona start going dry there’s no chance the Imperial Valley will get their full allotment, regardless of what the law says.
The generation of hydroelectricity at California dams will drop dramatically from average levels because it varies directly with streamflow.
This is the sleeper effect many aren’t aware of yet. It takes water to create power, obviously for hydropower, and also for natural gas, coal, and nuclear. Less water means less power.
Natural ecosystems are likely to suffer severely, especially fisheries in the Sacramento-San Joaquin river delta
During past droughts, political pressures have been applied to increase diversions of water away from ecosystems.
As always, the Sacramento Delta is the focal point for California water.
Wildfires could be more frequent or severe, and the wildfire season may expand into normally wet months.
Prices of water are likely to rise, in part because of the real cost of water scarcity, and in part because our water rate designs still too often penalize efforts to conserve water.