What Is Water Scarcity Doing to Some of America’s Best Farmland?


Strawberry in the middle of winter. Almond milk in your latte. Box of tomato paste smeared on your pizza.

Much of what we eat is produced on large farms in the Central Valley of California.

For years this has been possible thanks to a labyrinth of canals and tunnels that bring water from the rivers in the north of the state, and thanks to the farmers’ ability to draw water from underground.

This year, the rich, fertile Central Valley is both facing an extraordinary situation. drought and the results of pumping too much water from its aquifers over the years.

I wanted to understand how farmers are coping and what this means for the future of food production in the country’s richest agricultural belt.

So I drove up and down the valley. I met almond growers and melon farmers, talked to irrigation district managers and experts working in the state’s water economy.

I saw a glimpse of California’s drier future. The fields are uncultivated. With some water in the relatively abundant north, farmers prefer to sell most of their crops rather than water them. In the drier parts of the state, some are considering planting solar arrays instead of food crops. you can Read my article here.

numbers: By 2040, the San Joaquin Valley is estimated to lose at least 535,000 acres of agricultural production. That’s more than one-tenth of the planted area.

Portland, Ore. is generally pleasant in June with relatively little rain and high temperatures averaging in the mid-70s. On Monday afternoon, the temperature reached a record high of 117 degrees.

This was a falling temperature record as the area was beating in Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia. heat wave started this weekend. Lytton, a town in British Columbia, hit 121 degrees on Tuesday, breaking the all-Canada record for three consecutive days.

Meteorologists said the extreme conditions were the result of the “heat dome,” an enormous region of high-pressure air that hovers over the region and acts as a cover, trapping heat and allowing it to accumulate.

In Our article on its impact in Portland and other cities, we called the heat “weird”. This seems appropriate when a thermometer reading is more than 40 degrees above average.

But there is nothing strange about why this heatwave occurred (and still occurs in the interior of the region). The scientists said they’re confident climate change plays a role, as studies have shown it to be in other heat waves. When base temperatures are higher, as in a world that has warmed by about 2 degrees since 1900, extreme heat probably even more extreme.

Related: If the Pacific Northwest devastating temperature records and Heat-related deaths on the rise in Canada.

President Biden is on the defensive just days after he agreed with Senate leaders for a $973 billion infrastructure package. This is because the bill is not going as far as the administration has promised in tackling climate change.

The measure provides financing to shift the electricity grid to more renewable energy. It also includes $15 billion for vehicle electrification, just a fraction of the $174 billion Mr. Biden has requested, and $47 billion to help communities become more resilient to disasters and severe weather conditions caused by a warming planet.

But the president had hoped to use a comprehensive infrastructure package as a tool to enact national rules that require power companies to gradually increase the amount of electricity they generate from wind, solar and other sources until those that no longer emit carbon dioxide. He did not survive these negotiations.

Mr. Biden promised that Democrats would seek to pass larger green policies in a separate legislative process known as consensus. As my colleague Coral Davenport and I wrote, this goal faces some very high hurdles.

Related: Democratic cracks are starting to show on the infrastructure bill.

As climate change worsens, Native Americans are hit particularly hard. From Alaska to Florida, tribal nations are particularly plagued by flooding, drought, higher temperatures and rising seas – the newest threat in a history marked by centuries of hardship and displacement.

This disproportionate vulnerability to climate change is no accident. Many Native Americans were pushed into marginal lands, first by white settlers and later by the U.S. government, leaving them more exposed to natural hazards. Later governments increased this damage by allowing substandard housing and infrastructure in Indigenous communities.

But as Kalen Goodluck and I wrote this week, the vulnerability of Native Americans also reflects current federal policy. Tribal nations are less likely than states to receive various types of federal aid to prepare for or recover from disasters — a test for President Biden’s promise to uphold climate and environmental justice.

If you don’t receive Climate Fwd: in your inbox can register here

We would love your feedback on the newsletter. We read every message and reply to many! Please email your thoughts and suggestions. climate team@nytimes.com.


Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *