When there’s not enough water to supply everyone, water cutbacks to farms mean unemployment in agricultural areas of California. Central Valley allotments from the Sacramento Delta to the Central Valley were cut to 20%. This does not meant a 20% cut to 80% of allotment. They are receiving 20% of their total allotment, an 80% cut, this for one of the most productive agricultural areas in the country. These Central Valley water cuts will devastate already wobbly local economies.
With severe irrigation water cutbacks this year, food lines again will form with unemployed workers and their families on the San Joaquin Valley’s west side, local leaders said Monday.
Part of the problem is the snow pack is about half what it should be, made worse for Central Valley farmers by federal regulations mandating water be used to protect fish in the Delta, particularly salmon.
There are no easy answers here. There aren’t even difficult answers. Water cuts this severe will mean unemployment will soar and quite possibly that food prices will rise in response because less food is produced. California Gov. Brown wants to build two huge tunnels to shunt water around the Delta and to the Central Valley and Los Angeles. As you might expect, commerce and residents in the Delta, which also has highly productive farmland as well as fishing, are dead set opposed to this. No one has a clue where the tens of billions to fund the tunnels will come from, especially since voters are leery of funding big projects. The last two attempts at a water bond on the ballot were pulled because the water bond had enough pork in it to fill a Midwest meat packing plant.
One possible solution is desalination. Siemens says they can do it using half the power previously needed. Even with that, a string of desal plants on the California coast would require huge amounts of electricity not readily available.