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Extended drought: What do you think will happen? How would we be affected?

August 27, 2014 | Ray | Comments (1) Facebook Twitter More...

Former Fish of Folsom Lake [image from Associated Press]

If you've been following the news, perhaps you've heard something about the extreme drought that riddles nearly the entire state of California.  The snowcaps from the mountains haven't been replentished over last winter and the mountain rivers the supply the water reservoirs are running dry.  Even the reservoirs are down to mere puddles.  Since we're surrounded by freshwater lakes and even living on a great lake, why would we care? 

For starters, tons of food is imported from California. Strawberries, almonds, most out-of-season fruits and veggies.  Ultimately the high cost of water (due to scarcity) may impact agriculture - determining what plants and animals can be grown with little water - and supply could affect the prices at the supermarket.  Conventional breeds of beef cattle are known to consume more resources than chickens, many places with little water raise goats and sheep rather than cows.  Is it possible that longer-term drought could affect the food supply chain? Perhaps plants that are better for dryer conditions - drought-tolerant plants like sweet potatoes, millet, and sorghum - could have increased production.  How do you think we might be impacted?

So what does this drought look like? Dramatic photos taken around Califoria reveal what used to be hidden at the bottom of water reservoirs - cars, furniture, and garbage is now roasting under the sun. 

The largest reservoir for California, Lake Mead, is dangerously low.  Using a sliding comparison bar, check out these past and present photos of the lake


Meanwhile, people across California are asked to reduce water consumption and in some cases are asked to replace green lawns with native, drought-tolerant species like succulents and cacti.  What do you think? What would a lawn of native Ontario plants look like? 

Will reduced water consumption and replacing lawns have an impact? Is this a way to begin rethinking water use?