The water crisis in America’s richest state reminds us what the most precious resource is and that we must not waste it.
In the collective imagination California immediately brings to mind the fabulous villas shaded by palm trees; lovingly tended gardens; wide, ocean-kissed beaches; pleasant walks among fresh greenery; golf courses; vast farmlands; and the substantial vineyards of the Wine Country.
It is a region whose aesthetic beauty is complemented by its significant contribution to the US economy. Yet, for the last four years, California has been in the grip of drought and its soft features have been transformed into a rough and rugged landscape.
The current condition of the golden state is not only extremely dramatic but also unique in its history. The supply of drinking water is, therefore, being reduced to 25%. One of the determining factors for this decision is the abuse of the planet’s water resources, which are sending consistent and dramatic signals through the devastating climate change being experienced globally.
In California in particular, the catastrophic decrease in rainfall has devastated the entire population; snowfall in the Sierra Nevada is at zero; and lakes are disappearing.
It is clear that drought, as well as triggering a social emergency is also causing a political crisis. Governor Jerry Brown has a difficult task, that of having to determine water use according to the needs of the state’s main cities.
Rationing water will, therefore, be an important exercise in raising citizens’ awareness of the need to save water, in order to protect the lives of all. It will also make it possible for agriculture to continue production and remain an economic pillar for the United States, which it always has been. Indeed, California’s Central Valley is critical to the American agricultural sector, just as Silicon Valley is for the technology industry.