Editorials, Opinions

Our view: California drought should be wake up call

It has been said that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Never does that seem to be more true than with the current drought crisis in California.

Gov. Jerry Brown recently declared that California is in an official drought crisis, one that is not like any that has hit the state before. Brown is asking all citizens to cut back their water use by at least 20 percent to conserve the dwindling water supply in California.

Some may be wondering why one should cut back on water and how bad the drought could really be.

It can be actually quite serious. Brown stated in a conference in January that this drought is the worst California has experienced since the state began to keep records about 100 years ago, according to NBC.

Analysts from Reuters said farmers who lack water necessary to sustain their farms could go bankrupt.

Without a doubt, farmers could be the hardest hit from the worsening drought.

It is estimated that between 400,000 to 500,000 acres of farmland will be forced to lay fallow or go unused, according to the California Farm Bureau Federation.

There is also a serious risk of the drought harming not only the local economy but the national economy as well.

Because California produces roughly half of the country’s fruits and vegetables, it is estimated that the drought could potentially cause produce prices to increase nationwide, according to Reuters.

In hopes of fixing the situation, Brown has introduced a $687 million proposal to combat the drought emergency. According to the Los Angeles Times, about $550 million of the proposal will come from already existing bond money approved by the voters. No new taxes or fees on water are being proposed with Brown’s plan, according to the LA Times.

The money will be used to promote water conservation, cleaning water supplies, and enacting harsher penalties for the illegal diversion of water supplies, according to the LA Times.

We are glad to see Brown making moves to deal with such a serious crisis. The fact remains, however, that Brown is only reacting to a worsening crisis. According to the New York Times, the drought may not be related to global warming.

If one looks back at drought records, one can see a clear pattern where there are long droughts followed by fair period  that lasts a few years in between each, according to USA Today.

A more logical alternative would have been to tell Californians to conserve water before the drought escalated to its current state.

Citizens of California also need to do their part. While conserving water may sound like a burden, it’s really not that difficult and it’s even in one’s own immediate interest. All we need to do is take shorter showers, water lawns a little less, minimize faucet use, and maybe cut back on car washes.

It won’t only help California, you can help yourself by saving some money.

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