20 Signs The Terrible Drought In The Western US Is Starting To Become Catastrophic

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Michael Snyder of The Economic Collapse blog,

When scientists start using phrases such as "the worst drought" and "as bad as you can imagine" to describe what is going on in the western half of the country, you know that things are bad.  Thanks to an epic drought that never seems to end, we are witnessing the beginning of a water crisis that most people never even dreamed was possible in this day and age.  The state of California is getting ready to ban people from watering their lawns and washing their cars, but if this drought persists we will eventually see far more extreme water conservation measures than that.  And the fact that nearly half of all of the produce in America comes out of the state of California means that ultimately this drought is going to deeply affect all of us.  Food prices have already been rising at an alarming rate, and the longer this drought goes on the higher they will go.   Let us hope and pray that this drought is permanently broken at some point, because otherwise we could very well be entering an era of extreme water rationing, gigantic dust storms and crippling food prices.


The following are 20 signs that the epic drought in the western half of the United States is starting to become apocalyptic...

#1 According to the Los Angeles Times, downtown Los Angeles is now the driest that it has been since records began being kept all the way back in 1877.

#2 The California State Water Resources Control Board says that nearly 50 communities are already on the verge of running out of water.

#3 In a desperate attempt to conserve water, the state of California is considering banning watering lawns and washing cars.  Once implemented, violators will be slapped with a $500 fine for each offense.

#4 It has been reported that a new social media phenomenon known as "drought shaming" has begun in California.  People are taking videos and photos of their neighbors wasting water and posting them to Facebook and Twitter.

#5 Climate scientist Tim Barnett says that the water situation in Las Vegas "is as bad as you can imagine", and he believes that unless the city "can find a way to get more water from somewhere" it will soon be "out of business".

#6 The water level in Lake Mead has now fallen to the lowest level since 1937, and it continues to drop at a frightening pace.  You can see some incredible photos of what has happened to Lake Mead right here.

#7 Rob Mrowka of the Center for Biological Diversity believes that the city of Las Vegas is going to be forced to downsize because of the lack of water...

The drought is like a slow spreading cancer across the desert. It's not like a tornado or a tsunami, bang. The effects are playing out over decades. And as the water situation becomes more dire we are going to start having to talk about the removal of people (from Las Vegas).

#8 In some areas of southern Nevada, officials are actually paying people to remove their lawns in a desperate attempt to conserve water.

#9 According to Accuweather, "more than a decade of drought" along the Colorado River has set up an "impending Southwest water shortage" which could ultimately affect tens of millions of people.

#10 Most people don't realize this, but the once mighty Colorado River has become so depleted that it no longer runs all the way to the ocean.

#11 Lake Powell is less than half full at this point.

#12 It is being projected that the current drought in California will end up costing the state more than 2 billion dollars this year alone.

#13 Farmers in California are allowing nearly half a million acres to lie fallow this year due to the extreme lack of water.

#14 The lack of produce coming from the state of California will ultimately affect food prices in the entire nation.  Just consider the following statistics from a recent Business Insider article...

California is one of the U.S.'s biggest food producers — responsible for almost half the country's produce and nuts and 25% of our milk and cream. Eighty percent of the world's almonds come from the state, and they take an extraordinary amount of water to produce — 1.1 gallons per almond.

#15 As underground aquifers are being relentlessly drained in California, some areas of the San Joaquin Valley are sinking by 11 inches a year.

#16 It is being projected that the Kansas wheat harvest will be the worst that we have seen since 1989.

#17 The extended drought has created ideal conditions for massive dust storms to form.  You can see video of one female reporter bravely reporting from the middle of a massive dust storm in Phoenix right here.

#18 Things are so dry in California right now that people are actually starting to steal water.  For example, one Mendocino County couple recently had 3,000 gallons of water stolen from them.  It was the second time this year that they had been hit.

#19 At the moment, close to 80 percent of the state of California is experiencing either "extreme" or "exceptional" drought.

#20 National Weather Service meteorologist Eric Boldt says that this is "the worst drought we probably have seen in our lifetime".

Most people just assume that this drought will be temporary, but experts tell us that there have been "megadroughts" throughout history in the western half of the United States that have lasted for more than 100 years.

If we have entered one of those eras, it is going to fundamentally change life in America.

And the frightening thing is that much of the rest of the world is dealing with water scarcity issues right now as well.  In fact, North America is actually in better shape than much of Africa and Asia.  For much more on this, please see my previous article entitled "25 Shocking Facts About The Earth’s Dwindling Water Resources".

Without plenty of fresh water, modern civilization is not possible.

And right now, the western United States and much of the rest of the world is starting to come to grips with the fact that we could be facing some very serious water shortages in the years ahead.

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Dublinmick's picture

Bring on the idiots, it is all due to ............................ climate cooling, yes that is the ticket!

Liberal's picture

As a staunch liberal, I believe President Obama should ban droughts and Chairwomyn Yellin should print water.

Thank you.

Now lets get back to the issue of our time: the Hobby Lobby decision and why we should pay for everyone's birth control.

RafterManFMJ's picture

This guy really needs an editor, or to learn some basic writing.


"...that it has been since records began being kept all the way back in 1877."


No need for that, and you sound like a 6th grader.

"...officials are actually paying people..."

"... people are actually starting to steal water."

"Without plenty of fresh water, modern civilization is not possible."

Sure it will, it will just stink more.

NOTaREALmerican's picture

Re;  it will just stink more.

Actually, that is a sign of a non-modern society.  

cifo's picture

And that's how Buffalo and Detroit may get second chances.

max2205's picture

Thank goodness. ....I needed a 20 point list before I go night night

Stackers's picture

The real problem is not that the drought is abnormal for the western US, but that the past century has been abnormally wet and it is simply reverting back to what it usually is.

National Geo. did a good artcl on it a few months back


knukles's picture

The problem with most of the produce effect is not lack of water, period....
Most of the AG related water shortages are due to the water originally deeded/allocated to farmers being cut off and shipped (aqueduct system etc.) south to LA etc. to keep the fucking voters happy.
It's the products out of the Central Valley going scarce.

Desal the piss out of the Pacific for LA, San Diego, et al and Inland Empire etc., quit sending AG water south to car washes etc.

Much of the problem, aside from the lack of rain/snow, has been created by asinine governmental programs.

Yeah, yeah, I know, generalities, but I got family in the AG biz, so I do have a clue..
And be careful if you don't know CA, water, etc., first hand before ranting and raving.

I'm not in any way stating we've NOT got a water problem, and BIG TIME, WE DO.
I'm saying that much of that available is going to waste rather than for Agriculture.

And you can be damned sure this will create additional man made political crises to which only costly irrelevant political solutions will be applied

chumbawamba's picture

Simple solution: ban lawns.  Period.  Arizona suburbs have a nice model for landscaping: rocks.  Looks just as nice.

Biggest waste of water man ever cultivated into the most functionally useless vegetation.  Look, you can't have carpeting outside, OK?  Do you want to bathe and drink and live, or do you want to look good as your civilization dies?  Whatever answer you choose, the correct result will manifest.

I am Chumbawamba.

flacon's picture

Your children will be taught that the "Greatest Depression" was due to the "western dustbowl" just like you were taught that the "Great Depression" was caused by the "western dustbowl". No mention of money, federal reserve or banking will be taught to your children. 

NoDebt's picture

Hey, it just wouldn't be a proper depression without a good dustbowl.

Grapes of Wrath, bitchez.


TheRedScourge's picture

There is a simple solution to all this: raise the price of water, perhaps quadruple it.


Why have a price system if you're not going to use it?

Ben Ghazi's picture

No real need to teach about banking when everyone is broke.


Easier to blame the dustbowl (or Bush) for everything.

chumbawamba's picture

Your children maybe.


IndyPat's picture

Anyone care to discuss the water cooling systems for the desert datacenters?
Google, Yahoo, NSA...who knows who else.
They come first.

They use fucktons of water. (Imperial fuckton, not metric)

steveharless's picture

with all the technological advances....like cloud seeding should be used to cure the drought....instead you see massive chem trails all over las vegas and southern california....hmmmm I smell monsanto causing the drought to pick up some farmer's land CHEAP!

Matt's picture

All cloud seeding will do, at best, is take rain from people downwind of you. It does not increase humidity or rainfall, it just makes the moisture above you condensate.

I think it would be better to make large areas of flats along the ocean and evaporate more water, to make more total humidity and rainfall.

OldPhart's picture

So you advocate human caused climate change?  That's refreshing!

Endgamer's picture

Kick the drought can over to the red states of the central US.  Fitting solution.

LosOsos's picture

I agree that the distribution and mis-management of our water supplies is a larger problem than the lack of rainfall we have experienced. In the heart of the drought on the central coast where I live our municipal drinking water supplies (while stressed) are still OK because we don't rely on the state water project. Cyclic drought is the name of the game in California, some areas have prepared for this while others haven't.

While century has most likely been wetter than average do not take this to mean that California used to be a dry wasteland. In fact when the Spanish arrived it was noted that most of the central valley was a giant wetland covered in oak trees and meandering streams and rivers coming down from the  sierras. Unfortunately due to poor farming techniques involving the clear cutting of trees to make way for large, flat monocropped tracts of land we have destroyed the natural flow of water and impaired the hydrological cycle effectively creating our own misfortune.

We've forgotten the importance of forests and trees and how they constitue a large part of the hydroglogical cycle. Trees transpire more water than dry matter produced and a large oak tree can transpire 40,000 gallons of water into the atmosphere per year. In a properly balanced ecosystem water isn't as much "used up" by plants as it is a facilitator of reactions.

Antifaschistische's picture

don't forget the 427,000 acres dedicated to wine grapes...which supply the 1200 wineries in California...Including Gallo and their influence over Sacramento.  So, you may not be able to wash your car or afford carrots, but you can be sure the truckloads of grapes will keep moving into the wineries.

junction's picture

If the USA now was the same country as the USA of 1962, there would now be a series of water aqueducts and underground pipelines being constructed to bring Canadian water all the way south from British Columbia to Las Vegas and points west.  That won't happen, of course, since the civil engineers we have in the USA now can't even keep highway bridges from falling down.   

OldPhart's picture

We wouldn't have pipes, we would have resevoirs already holding millions of acrefeet of water.  Commiefornia, however, prefers to pay for wetbacks and to have spouses, siblings, children and parents to watch over loved ones in ill health.  AND, drain water from reservoirs to support fish.

zerocash's picture

Lybia could build something like that (google "great man made river") but then they were "liberated" and NATO blasted it to smithereens.

ShrNfr's picture

Yes, you were just hanging around and being listless until it appeared.

bigkansas's picture

#16 It is being projected that the Kansas wheat harvest will be the worst that we have seen since 1989.

WHAT? If the rest of the "Facts" are as accurate as this one you can write off the whole addaral, Ops I mean article. There is so much rain in Kansas that farmers are having trouble harvisting due to the mud.
Upton's picture

You need the rain when its growing, not while your cutting it.

Beowulf55's picture

Sure tell you don't farm.  Yes, we got some rains.  Yes, it was slow cutting this year.  But the rain came to late for the wheat harvest and we still have a large rain deficit to get back to our normal 26" a year.  My creek where it joins the Solomon river is dry for the first time in my memory.  And the only reason we have water in the Solomon is because we have Glen Elder lake 16 miles away that they are draining for irrigation.  But after August, they will shut the flow down to a trickle and the city water will again taste like shit with the highest Atrazine rates in the State.

We averaged 12 bu/acre wheat this year.  The height of the wheat didn't even come over the back of a miniature schnauzer because we had no rain in the winter or spring.  The bottom of the header was polished as we had to run it on the ground most of the time just to get all the wheat we could find. It was well below our average of 40 bu/acre, yet the price is still dropping.  $6.02 per bu here yesterday.  Fucking grain speculators.....

Now what rain we did get in June has stopped and the fall crops that benefited are in danger of failing.  The only thing saving the crops now is the polar vortex keeping things in the mid '70's (in July?).  Corn is starting tasseling and if we get hit by the normal July heat wave with no rain, the corn will shut down growth.  Next week the heat will be back in the high 90's with no rain forecast.  It's a critical time as Kansas IS NOT CORN COUNTRY (hear that Monsanto?).  And now with the price of corn and beans falling because speculators back east think we have planted an over-abundance it is a double whammy for the farmer.  People are clueless about what is happening in Kansas.  Get a little ground truth, come for a visit and talk to a Farmer.  Of course when people get hungry enough they will eat the GMO shit (if they can get it) that most brainwashed Farmer grow around here. 

Give it to Mikey, he'll eat anything.........but that's for another rant.

Simple J. Malarky's picture

Having a Great Lake in your backyard may help! Maybe........

j0nx's picture

8 inches of rain here in the DC area in the past 10 days. Move east young man. I'll take the dry climate any day over this wet shit. Seattle is a desert compared to the northeast most years.

barre-de-rire's picture

you already stink more, and not only, regulary cholera & plague are discovered in colorado.

you should close nevada valves imho, before it spreads to whole country.

RadioactiveRant's picture

Modern France has little use for water, they drink wine and never wash.

samcontrol's picture

Hey radio , va te faire foutre.

i drink
Argentinian wine and take a shower every other day :)

nmewn's picture

See Liberal, I knew you had it in you.

Well done ;-)

Kirk2NCC1701's picture

What's the Squid projecting?  Go Long or Short?

I mean... they got friends/servants working at HAARP, right? /s

Lordflin's picture

Personally, I believe that folks should stop draining the world's aquifers and just use the water that the stores make.

Serenity Now's picture

Great idea.  We should put you in charge of California.  ;)

Hmm, should I water my banana trees with Fiji or Evian water?  Definitely Fiji.  Sounds more tropical.

zerocash's picture

Use Brawndo. It's what plants crave!

redd_green's picture

Well, they wouldn't really *print* water. What they would do, is take YOUR water, OUR water, give us an IOU, and print a bond that we will have to pay interest on forever.     The bankers get the money, foreign companies get the water, and we get  ... nothing but the bill.

Citxmech's picture

How aboiut a futures market?  Just start selling future rainfall to farmers.  Problem solved and the price would come down too. 

DullKnife's picture

California soon to ban bathing.

Citizens to be limited to one bath per month.

Toilets limited to one flush per day.

Telecommuting favorability expected to rise significantly.

dbTX's picture

Someone told me clean water was a human right. What's the deal?

IndyPat's picture

Clean water is a mega corp right, fool. Gotta cool those spy servers.

And if we see a rain barrel on your gutter our swat team will put a flash bang in your baby's crib if you don't like it,

Evil Bugeyes's picture

According to the NRDC, global warming should result in devastating floods and heavy rains:


"Scientists project that climate change will increase the frequency of heavy rainstorms, putting many communities at risk for devastation from floods..."

So the drought must be evidence of global cooling. We need moar CO2.