What happens when a city runs out of water? What about a state? A country?
The Brazilian mega-city of São Paulo is facing dwindling water supplies. Rationing is likely to come next. But what happens when a city of 20 million people runs out of water? No one really knows … I certainly don’t.
What about here in California? Since 2011 the state has been in an increasingly severe drought; as these maps show, most of the state is now in “exceptional drought,” one step more dire than “extreme.”
For decades, water has been damned, piped hundreds of miles and more to support a growing population, golf courses and most of all agricultural practices. California’s central valley is the produce cart of America. So as the state faces urgently limited water supplies, it’s not just people in California who will be affected, it’s our entire food and economic system.
What can be done about it? A lot more than we’re currently doing, starting by facing the issue rather than turning our heads and praying for rain. A recent LA Times op-ed does a good of outlining some of the steps we should start taking – now.
Read the op-ed by Jay Famiglietti, senior water scientist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory/Caltech and a professor of Earth system science at UC Irvine: California has about one year of water left. Will you ration now?