Posts Tagged Water Supply
NASA Warns California Drought Could Threaten U.S. Food Supply: “There will be some definite changes”
November 4, 2014
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has sounded a stark warning over California’s sustained drought, publishing its latest findings where satellite surveys show a rapidly depleting groundwater supply.
And with California as the United States’ most valuable agricultural state, and thus key to America’s food supply (and much of the world’s as well) that could mean drastic consequences for food commodity prices and potential shortages.
A new Nature Climate Change piece, “The global groundwater crisis,” by James Famiglietti, a leading hydrologist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, warns that “most of the major aquifers in the world’s arid and semi-arid zones, that is, in the dry parts of the world that rely most heavily on groundwater, are experiencing rapid rates of groundwater depletion.”
The groundwater at some of the world’s largest aquifers — in the U.S. High Plains, California’s Central Valley, China, India, and elsewhere — is being pumped out “at far greater rates than it can be naturally replenished.”
The most worrisome fact: “nearly all of these underlie the word’s great agricultural regions and are primarily responsible for their high productivity.”
NASA’s satellite map shows the loss of weight height just in the past three years:
According to NASA:
“California’s Sacramento and San Joaquin river basins have lost roughly 15 km3 of total water per year since 2011 — more water than all 38 million Californians use for domestic and municipal supplies annually — over half of which is due to groundwater pumping in the Central Valley.”
Yes, of course, California is a desert. So, that isn’t helping things. But it was reformed into a thriving economy by controversial and historically corrupt irrigation scheme, and is now vital to U.S. food security.
The result of these dangerous conditions is, not surprisingly, higher commodity prices – including food and water – creating higher profits for the companies that provide these services. Privatized water could drive prices even higher.
There are storm clouds gathering, so to speak, but they aren’t bringing rain.
In July, California’s state government economic report was already warning of losses in the billions for farmers feeling the weight of drought conditions, though it claimed the national food system would be little impacted.
However, time has made that claim ring hollow. In August, Bloomberg reported on the “global reverberations” occurring because of the drought in California:
“It’s a really big deal,” Sumner said. “Some crops simply grow better here than anyplace else, and our location gives us access to markets you don’t have elsewhere.”
The success of California agriculture was built in large part on advances in irrigation that allowed the state to expand beyond wheat, which flourishes in dry climates. It’s now the U.S.’s top dairy producer and grows half the country’s fruits, vegetables and nuts.
“Water has allowed us to grow more valuable crops,” Sumner said. “Now, we have fruits and vegetables and North Dakota grows our wheat. Without irrigation, we’d be North Dakota.”
“There will be some definite changes, probably structural changes, to the entire industry” as drought persists, said American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman. “Farmers have made changes. They’ve shifted. This is what farmers do.”
Locals in California are now reporting everything from reduced availability of produce, to higher prices in restaurants and reduced hours and activity at farmer’s markets and local stores.
Most farmers have cutback on what they are growing. In many cases, that means chopping down trees, orchards and not planting as many fields:
“I was just talking to a farmer today who grows olives and almonds. Expect prices of almonds to skyrocket because they’re cutting the trees down because they don’t have enough water to keep them alive,” said Helstrom.
California is by no means the only place facing life threatening shortages. There are similarly alarming trends having all across the globe, particularly in arid and semi-arid places.
Texas ranchers and farmers have been dealing with returning dust bowl conditions in the panhandle and surrounding regions, with very difficult drought conditions and conflicting urban competition for water which strain supply.
June 5, 2012
For once government money was put to good use. Recently Calgary Canada removed fluoride from the water supply, which could be considered a victory against the New World Orders eugenics agenda.
And at a savings to the city of $750,000, the city plans to give back some of that forward children’s dental health.
Ald. Druh Farrell, who was behind city council’s motion to use the fluoride savings, said there were many worthy applicants and a lot of research put into the final decision, but these two stood out.
“Those two stood out because they were for a capital endowment fund and it would have an ongoing benefit and many children would be served.”
The motion stated the savings must go towards promoting dental health for children from low-income families.
CUPS plans to expand its dental services after moving into their new facility and according to Lorna Curran, funding development manager, their $165,000 will allow them to expand dental services to kids.
“With the city’s funding, that will cover a third dental chair and that chair will be completely dedicated to the oral health of children from low-income families.”
The Alex will receive $585,000 which will go towards a mobile dental health unit that will provide a complete range of dental services, said Farrell.
by: Kelsey Coy
June 29, 2012
Think you know what pharmaceuticals you ingest everyday? Think again. Several decades worth of research, most recently and notoriously an April 2008 AP Investigation, has confirmed the pervasive presence of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) in our nation’s water supply. Lesser known sources of water pollution, these drugs include antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers and sex hormones.
Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients Lesser Known Sources of Water Pollution
Certainly, one’s initial emotion upon learning of active pharmaceutical ingredients and hearing such reports might be fear, and not shockingly, much of the mainstream media has capitalized on this in articles like this one on the CBS News website last September. While his presentation is heavy on the fear-instilling, light on the solution-proposing, Jim Edwards is correct in pointing out:
Very little attention is likely to be paid to a report by the General Accountability Office that says most drinking water in the U.S. is contaminated with pharmaceuticals, and most of those drugs are estrogen-based hormones and antibiotics.
The report is an important one because in essence it says that although the drug industry is poisoning the U.S. water supply with active pharmaceutical ingredients, no one knows how bad the problem is or what the solution might be. This, in fact, is the key reason the nonpartisan report will get very few headlines: The lack of information is, in itself, the heart of the problem.
Here are some scary facts from the report, most of which remain unaddressed by the federal government, state governments or the industry itself. More potentially frightening than the facts themselves however is the final part of Mr. Edwards’ introduction: ‘most of which remain unaddressed by the federal governments or the industry itself.’
Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients a Clear Health Threat
Despite reports by both the U.S. Government’s General Accountability Office and the Natural Resources Defense Council that intelligently and decisively call for action, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has made frighteningly little progress in addressing this clear threat to the safety of our water supply.
A March 2010 study in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives concluded that the concentrations of active pharmaceutical ingredients in our water supply was so low as to be inconsequential and therefore unworthy of our concern or federal regulation. However, a closer examination reveals that this study was funded and reviewed by three of the four most profitable pharmaceutical companies in the country. Indeed, this seems to be the resounding cry of such companies, but one must wonder a bit at the biases that those cries can’t help but incorporate, especially when compared to statements like that of the Endocrine Society, a non-profit association of physicians and scientists ‘devoted to hormone research and the clinical practice of endocrinology,’ in a scientific statement published in 2009:
The evidence for adverse reproductive outcomes (infertility, cancers, malformations) from exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals is strong, and there is mounting evidence for effects on other endocrine systems, including thyroid, neuroendocrine, obesity and metabolism, and insulin and glucose homeostasis.