1. [top]  A housing development on the edge of undeveloped desert in California. The state’s history as a frontier of prosperity and glamour faces an uncertain future as the fourth year of severe water shortages has prompted Governor Jerry Brown to mandate a 25 percent reduction in non-agricultural water use, April 3, 2015. Photo credit: Damon Winter / The New York Times — in Cathedral City, California.

2.  A property surrounded by desert in California, April 3, 2015. Photo credit: Damon Winter / The New York Times — in Palm Springs, California.

3.  This picture shows a single house standing in the middle of a highway in China. Before the home was demolished it stood as a symbol of resistance for Chinese homeowners who have been forced to make way for massive infrastructure projects, November 22, 2014. Photo credit: STR / AFP / Getty Images — in Wenlinghsien, Zhejiang, China.

4.  A six-floor villa sits alone in a construction site in the central business district of Shenzhen. Choi Chu Cheung, the owner of the villa, and his wife Zhang Lian-hao, refused to accept the compensation offered by the developer who plans to build a financial center on the site, on April 17, 2007. Photo credit: Paul Yeung / Reuters — in Shenzhen, Guangdong.

5.  A building sits on its own island of land amid construction all around it in China. The homeowner, who has hung a banner and the national flag in protest, had refused to sell to a developer who went ahead with construction around the site, on March 22, 2007. Photo credit: China Photos / Getty Images — in Chongqing Shi, Chongqing, China.

6.  A “nail house,” the last building in the area, sits in the middle of a road under construction in China. According to local media, the owner of the house didn’t reach an agreement with the local authority about compensation of the demolition, April 10, 2015. Photo credit: Reuters — in Nanning Shi, Guangxi, China.

California will run out of water very soon.

According to NASA’s new report, California only has enough water to get it through the next year. People are under strict water-saving measures; farmers are struggling to keep their crops alive.
Yet, Nestlé is bottling water from at least ten natural springs throughout California, including from some of the most drought-stricken areas of the state, and selling it for profit. In places like Sacramento, it’s paying less than $0.14 per gallon. This is bananas.

Sign the petition to Nestlé: stop taking water from drought-stricken areas.

Surprise -- Turns Out Nestle Actually WAS Stealing Water In Calif.

Surprise — Turns Out Nestle Actually WAS Stealing Water In Calif.

Nestle is already in hot water over the continuing pumping of water out of drought-ravaged California to feed its bottled water business. Now, it turns out, they did not actually have the permits needed to do so from at least one of their sources, according to an investigation by The Desert Sun. As reported by the San Jose Mercury News on Sunday, it turns out that their permit for water…

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A few facts about California’s drought and almonds.
  • It takes a gallon of water to produce a single almond.
  • Over 80% of the world’s almonds are grown in California across 800,000 acres.
  • Almost all of California’s almond farms are in the state’s worst-hit drought areas.
  • Almonds consume over 10% of the state’s water.
  • California’s almond farmers pump more water than LA and SF combined.

So yeah, no wonder it’s been called “the 800-pound gorilla.“


Watch California Dry Up Right Before Your Eyes In 6 Jaw-Dropping GIFs

California is drying up.“This is a big deal,” California Governor Jerry Brown said at a ceremony Tuesday as he signed into law a trio of bills regulating, for the first time, the state’s groundwater use. As of Thursday, almost 60 percent of the state is facing “exceptional drought,” the most severe level of dryness measured by the U.S. Drought Monitor.

NYTimes is running spectacular coverage of California’s mega-drought. In this article, the Times questions if “constant growth” (vs a sustainable population and flat economy) is part of the problem. 

Mother Nature didn’t intend for 40 million people to live here,” said Kevin Starr, a historian at the University of Southern California who has written extensively about this state. “This is literally a culture that since the 1880s has progressively invented, invented and reinvented itself. At what point does this invention begin to hit limits?

California, Dr. Starr said, “is not going to go under, but we are going to have to go in a different way.”

An estimated 38.8 million people live in California today, more than double the 15.7 million people who lived here in 1960, and the state’s labor force exploded to 18.9 million in 2013 from 6.4 million people in 1960.

California’s $2.2 trillion economy today is the seventh largest in the world, more than quadruple the $520 billion economy of 1963, adjusted for inflation. The median household income jumped to an estimated $61,094 in 2013 from $44,772 in 1960, also adjusted for inflation.

You just can’t live the way you always have,” said Mr. Brown, a Democrat who is in his fourth term as governor.

“For over 10,000 years, people lived in California, but the number of those people were never more than 300,000 or 400,000,” Mr. Brown said. “Now we are embarked upon an experiment that no one has ever tried: 38 million people, with 32 million vehicles, living at the level of comfort that we all strive to attain. This will require adjustment. This will require learning.”

How One Scientist Is Helping Plants Survive California’s Worst Drought

Every living thing has its own natural responses to stress. 

When critical nutrients are in short supply, our bodies, for example, find ways to maintain normal function until those nutrients are replenished. Plants do the same. In drought conditions, natural processes kick in to keep them alive until they can be watered again.

When faced with a water shortage, plants produce a stress hormone known as abscisic acid (ABA), which signals the plant to consume less water. ABA binds to a specific protein receptor in the plant, signaling stomata—or unique guard cells—to close and reduce the amount of water lost. This receptor is so important that its discovery by UC Riverside’s Sean Cutler, his team and others was listed as one of 2009′s breakthroughs of the year by Science magazine.

To help plants survive extreme drought conditions, some have tried spraying ABA directly on crops during water shortages. The move can improve crop yields, but ABA is expensive to produce and breaks down easily, even before a plant can absorb and use it.

Read more about how Sean Cutler is helping plants survive California’s worst drought

Image credit: Adam Shomsky

Would Going Vegetarian Actually Help California Battle The Drought?

You can’t taste it, but a whole lot of water went into producing that hamburger.
As Californians cut residential water use by 25 percent under Gov. Jerry Brown’s unprecedented mandatory restrictions, pressure on the drought-stricken state’s water resources continues to come from its robust agriculture industry, which accounts forabout 80 percent of the state’s total water consumption.

Ah spring

In the northern hemisphere, the cold has broken, the snow is melting, baseball season is around the corner, and I just walked to class without a jacket. Here, take a look; you can even see the mighty granite monoliths of Yosemite National Park as the year’s snowfall retreats away.

Wait, what are the numbers on there? You mean these photos don’t show a single season, they show…oh wait this is really bad.

Keep reading


Read more:

The American West Dries Up

“Yesterday, California Governor Jerry Brown stood on a dry, bare hillside in the Sierra Nevada mountains, which would normally be deep under snow at this time of year, and announced an executive order aimed at dramatically reducing water usage statewide. The severity of the drought, now entering its fourth year, has already reached record levels in many places in California and across the West. Lake Powell, a reservoir on the Utah-Arizona border, is currently at 45 percent of capacity and is at risk of reaching the lowest level on record by September. California’s snowpack, which generally provides about a third of the state’s water, is already at its lowest level on record. Getty Images photographer Justin Sullivan traveled to lakes and reservoirs in California, Utah, and Arizona to capture the following scenes of an increasingly waterless West.”

People should realize we are in a new era. The idea of your nice little green lawn getting watered every day, those days are past.