`Drought Rages On in California - Olive Oil Times

Drought Rages On in California

May. 6, 2015
Olive Oil Times Staff

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A drought of uncer­tain dura­tion,” is how California Governor Jerry Brown described the his­toric heat and lack of rain hit­ting his thirsty state and its 39 mil­lion inhab­i­tants.

California’s drought is our drought too

News sources esti­mated that 12 mil­lion trees have died due to the lack of rain (nearly the same num­ber of olive trees Italian author­i­ties have pro­posed cut­ting down to com­bat a bac­te­ria out­break also blamed on cli­mate change). The threat of huge fires looms in California’s great forests.

You would need to go back 1,200 years to find a worse dry spell in California than the last three years, a recent report found. According to the Los Angeles Times, California had the dri­est January, and the hottest February, since the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration began keep­ing records in 1895.

Regulators in the state have ordered munic­i­pal­i­ties to reduce usage by 25 per­cent after data showed that vol­un­tary cut­backs resulted in almost no reduc­tions.

While golf courses and ceme­tery lawns go brown and cars get dirty, its California farms that use 80 per­cent of the water in the state, and no cut­backs were imposed on the huge agri­cul­ture indus­try.


They’re not water­ing their lawn or tak­ing long show­ers,” Governor Jerry Brown told ABC News. They’re pro­vid­ing most of the fruits and veg­eta­bles of America to a sig­nif­i­cant part of the world.”

Almonds alone account for 10 per­cent of the state’s water usage. One study found it takes more than one gal­lon of water to grow a sin­gle almond. California almond farms use three times the water as the city of Los Angeles. But it’s too easy to vil­ify the Devil’s Nut,” as some have called it.

California is run­ning through its water sup­ply,” wrote Steven Johnson in Medium, because, for com­pli­cated his­tor­i­cal and cli­ma­to­log­i­cal rea­sons, it has taken on the bur­den of feed­ing the rest of the coun­try.”

Which is to say that California’s drought is our drought too. And while it has been pointed out many times that olives, hav­ing adapted to dry Mediterranean cli­mates, need far less water than other crops, we will always need veg­eta­bles to pour our EVOO over.


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