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California Droughts: Then And Now

Tyler Durden's picture


Submitted by Erico Matias Tavares of Sinclair & Co,

The obstinate drought in California is showing no signs of letting up, and is now being compared to the last major drought which took place during 1976 and 1977.

Back then, the state was not as well equipped to cope with severe dryness. The sharp decline of surface water supplies coupled with the lack of backup reservoirs and waterways caused a lot of damage to the state’s agriculture, in particular to the livestock industry. As it turned out, the drought reversed itself completely a year later, and California powered on to become the major agro-industrial player it is today.

At the height of the drought, predictions about California’s water future were just as dire as the ones we are hearing today. Here’s an interesting snippet from a U.S. Government Accountability Office report published in October 1977:

“The State water plan shows that dependable water supplies will not provide for State needs through the year 2000, even if certain conditions are met. These conditions include completion of planned federal, State, and local surface and groundwater projects, as well as reclamation and reuse of wastewater. To compensate, more groundwater will have to be extracted than is replaced. Continued, excessive extraction of groundwater can lead to land subsistence, poor water quality, and high energy costs as pumping depths increase.”

But actions were undertaken to improve efficiency and significantly boost infrastructure, and with generally favorable precipitation patterns water supplies have lasted well beyond the year 2000. Yet another example of California’s engineering and ingenuity.

However, the current drought may get much trickier if we don’t see a sharp reversal in rainfall patterns soon (which is conceivable given the hydro-climatic variability of the southwest).

Climate models predict that California could become warmer and drier in the future. So the weather may turn out to be much less cooperative than suggested by recent history. There are 23 million more people now than in the late 1970s and virtually every drop of water is accounted for. And the agricultural industry, the state’s largest consumer of water, is of course much bigger today.

The Wild West was conquered by enterprising and optimistic pioneers, and successive water rights officials in California seem to have inherited those qualities in spades. According to a recent study by Theodore Grantham and Joshua Viers, both from the University of California, water right allocations total almost *five times* the state’s mean annual runoff, and account for up to 1000% of natural surface water supplies in the major river basins.

It seems that there is a conflict brewing as

“(…) the state simply does not have accurate knowledge of how much water is being used by most water rights holders. As such, it is nearly impossible to curtail or re-allocate water in an equitable manner among water users and to effectively manage for environmental water needs.”

The stakes are very high now and out-of-the-box solutions are needed. Otherwise this time might turn out to be different indeed.


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Fri, 08/22/2014 - 15:57 | 5131267 Professorlocknload
Professorlocknload's picture

Plenty of water, just all in the wrong place.

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 16:00 | 5131281 localsavage
localsavage's picture

Funny that Pelosi's district has no water restrictions...It must not really be a problem then.

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 16:01 | 5131285 wee-weed up
wee-weed up's picture

Mexifornia/Pelosi is a dry scab that needs to just hurry up and fall off of the rest of the country already.

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 16:10 | 5131323 Harbanger
Harbanger's picture

Save Lake Mead and drown Harry Reid.

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 16:12 | 5131335 ZerOhead
ZerOhead's picture

The 2014 raisin harvest looks promising...

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 16:17 | 5131358 Harbanger
Harbanger's picture

Prunes blame it on the dry weather.

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 16:39 | 5131459 Manthong
Manthong's picture

Peak water cycle.

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 16:53 | 5131504 asteroids
asteroids's picture

You Kalifornians should start building desalinization plants. Roll up your sleeves and stop whining.

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 17:14 | 5131585 James_Cole
James_Cole's picture

Large-scale ocean desalination, a technology that was part of President John F. Kennedy’s vision of the future half a century ago, has stubbornly remained futuristic in North America, even as sizable plants have been installed in water-poor regions like the Middle East and Singapore.

Desalination is very expensive and energy intensive, instead of preparing for the future via investment people seemed much more interested in head-in-the-sand / save a buck till absolutely no other option. Sort of like another famous environmental issue...


Fri, 08/22/2014 - 18:41 | 5131991 nmewn
nmewn's picture

They spend, errr ahhh, go into debt, for stupid shit like low flush toilets, bullet trains and social workers on every corner, so why can't they channel all that "green energy" from the bird frying Google super magnifying glass' easy-bake-oven electricity generation plant to a few desal plants so they don't, oh I don't know...die of thirst?

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 19:57 | 5132335 greyghost
greyghost's picture

santa barbara ca built a $26 million plant to remove salt from ocean water. the year after it opened the rain returned. over aprox. 20 years they sold off almost all the main equipment, mainly to middle eastern countries. now the city says no problem, will only take $15 million to restart. you just can't make this shit up

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 20:49 | 5132587 chumbawamba
chumbawamba's picture

"Climate models predict that California could become warmer and drier in the future. So the weather may turn out to be much less cooperative than suggested by recent history."

Sounds like the same kind of bullshit they were saying in the 70s.

We'll talk about this again in another 40 years, players.

I am Chumbawamba.

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 18:47 | 5132016 MisterMousePotato
MisterMousePotato's picture

"Desalination is very expensive and energy intensive ... ."

Not sure this is necessarily true. I recall reading about a fairly large-scale desalinization project done back in the mid 1800's, I think it was, in Brazil or somewhere in South America that used nothing more than glass, the sun, some rudimentary plumbing, and some catch basins. Run salt water in during the day, evaporation, condenses on the glass, catch the runoff.

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 19:48 | 5132289 in4mayshun
in4mayshun's picture

We won't complain about desalinating water if you won't complain about $12/lb fruit.

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 21:12 | 5132682 Jab Cross Hook
Jab Cross Hook's picture

Asteroids is correct. But Gov. Moonbeam would rather build the Brown Bullet hi-speed-rail-to-nowhere.

Too bad they won't have enough water to mix the concrete.

Sat, 08/23/2014 - 02:10 | 5133444 benb
benb's picture

This is nothing like the 75-77 drought. This is the Agenda 21 Drought. It is being created by elements of the Federal Government using Chemtrails and HAARP to wage war against us. It's called Weather Modification. Wait until lettuce is $6 a head.

Listening to the political infants on this board is becoming trying.

Where we going? -

Sat, 08/23/2014 - 16:20 | 5134943 HughK
HughK's picture

That damn Governor Moonbean, trying to trample on Californian's rights by building a fast train connecting two major cities, with all of the economic development and alternative to car transport which that brings.  

My God, that would make California easy to travel around such as....oh horror....that enclave of Stalinism known as Western Europe.  Ohhh what terrible havoc Eurostar has you can go from downtown Paris to downtown London in two and a half hours...all without going through a body scanner!

Los Angelinos have a God-given natural right to sit in hours of gridlock.  Californians, free yourselves of Brown's tyranny!

The of course, there's the fact that you can run a train without using a lot of fossil fuels.  That's just adding insult to injury!  Californians also have a right to zero snowpack in the Sierras and record droughts.

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 16:40 | 5131462 MeMadMax
MeMadMax's picture

I just moved out of california about a month ago after a 3 year stint...


That place is fucked....

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 16:54 | 5131512 Harbanger
Harbanger's picture

Thanks to all the liberals there.  I don't know if they should let you into another state.

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 16:19 | 5131372 OldPhart
OldPhart's picture

The years leading up to 76 and 77 were pretty dry, too.

I was rasing my rustled Charlais steer for 4-H.  I couldn't get alfalfa anywhere, and there were plenty of alfalfa farms around our area.  I resorted to feeding him 2x4's, tumbleweeds, greasewood, and tree leaves.  Oats and other grains were available but were so expensive.  Overall he was about 150 pounds underweight, he wasn't skin and bones, though, he actaully weighed 900+ pounds. 

Since he was underweight he didn't make the county fair auction, had to sell him as live beef privately.

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 16:53 | 5131489 ZerOhead
ZerOhead's picture

I really feel for the cattlemen. Every day they get up and look up at the sky and try to figure out a way to survive without anything for the cattle to graze.

I remember the days spent watching the weather channel on the farm. First waiting for 3 dry days to get the seeders on the fields in the spring and then waiting for enough dry days in late summer to get the crops off before the quality was shot or a storm flatted it. In between all that we were usually 'praying' for rain. We didn't actually have to pray ourselves because we were fortuntate enough to have our fields close enough to a very religious neighbor who did...

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 16:15 | 5131347 Pool Shark
Pool Shark's picture



I've said it before, and I'll say it again:

Those of us who are old enough (and who don't suffer ADD) remember well California's prior droughts.

This one will end the same way: with massive rainfall and mudslides.

Just like summers are hot and winters are cold; everything runs in cycles.

It's called "weather"...


Fri, 08/22/2014 - 16:22 | 5131379 ZerOhead
ZerOhead's picture

That's entirely possible.

It's also possible that a more historically normal rainfall pattern for California develops as evidenced in paleo reconstructions.

In that case the drought conditions that existed for most of the past thousand years or so could stick around for a while...

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 17:30 | 5131667 jbvtme
jbvtme's picture

prior droughts were not geo engineered

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 19:49 | 5132301 in4mayshun
in4mayshun's picture

Well played.

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 16:22 | 5131384 OldPhart
OldPhart's picture

Yep, and with the fires...the rains of Oct/Nov should produce epic results.  In the LA area, most of the water will go straight to the ocean.  Up here in the desert, the dry lakes will fill and evaporate.

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 16:56 | 5131514 James_Cole
James_Cole's picture

For the kidz, here yeah go:

What's the Difference Between Weather and Climate?

Sat, 08/23/2014 - 16:09 | 5134925 HughK
HughK's picture

Ha ha...good work, James, for exposing the fact that at least 37 ZH upvoters (as I write this) are apparently ignorant of this difference.

Why is it that quite a few of the people who are so good at seeing through the BS of the Fed and Wall Street can't see how they are being manipulated by climate deniers funded by oil companies?  It's a mystery to me.

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 16:42 | 5131469 Manthong
Manthong's picture

“Save Lake Mead and drown Harry Reid” long as you do it in a sewage settling pond .

Do not contaminate Lake Mead.

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 16:31 | 5131428 drendebe10
drendebe10's picture

"There ain't nuthin uglier than an old white woman."  Fred Sanford,  Sanford & Son

Pileofshitsi "We have to pass it to find out what's in it." is a completely moronic, botoxed faced, hair dyed withered old hag who needs its skin sandpapered off, buried in salt and then thrown in the Nevada desert...

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 21:22 | 5132735 TexasAggie
TexasAggie's picture

When she croaks, EPA will probably have to have her buried as hazardous waste.

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 16:25 | 5131398 falconflight
falconflight's picture

The farmers and ranchers will pick up their slack.

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 16:08 | 5131312 cougar_w
cougar_w's picture

Then there isn't plenty of water.

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 16:16 | 5131359 ZerOhead
ZerOhead's picture

All we need are GMO engineered mellons that can tolerate 3.5% salinity and the problems are solved...

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 16:25 | 5131396 cougar_w
cougar_w's picture

WTF does that even mean? You are going to wash your clothes and flush your toilet with watermellon juice?

I'd laugh but that kind of delusion is just scary.

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 16:27 | 5131406 ZerOhead
ZerOhead's picture

look at me... ;)

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 16:31 | 5131424 cougar_w
cougar_w's picture

We're both cats. We're supposed to be ahead of these other pukes.

Bill the Cat in particular was a genius.

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 16:41 | 5131463 Bill of Rights
Bill of Rights's picture

Obviously you did kid catch his snark.

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 17:03 | 5131538 oudinot
oudinot's picture

Soil goes salty as irrigation is used after a number of years; salinity is a poison for crps

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 17:15 | 5131576 ZerOhead
ZerOhead's picture

Worked for the Romans in Carthage...

On the prairie the soil we had was practically caked in potassium salts. Only needed to add nitrogen and phosphorus...

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 18:47 | 5132012 yochananmichael
yochananmichael's picture

plant salt absorbing crops like tomatoes

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 16:26 | 5131400 El Vaquero
El Vaquero's picture

I am growing these:


I have watered them once in the past month.  Their rinds still start to crack as they get ripe, and, when grown under those conditions, they are sweeter than anything you can get in the store.  I've read articles about people who claim that the native melons taste bad, but I bet they're watering them like they would a honeydew or a cantaloupe, which it says not to do right on the seed packet.  I don't think I'll ever be able to eat a store bought melon again.

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 16:35 | 5131432 ZerOhead
ZerOhead's picture

Oh baby they don't look good.

That's my favorite mellon family by a mile. I have about 30 acres of  black organic soil on my bug-infested property with just the right pH waitng for them one day. Until that day arrives they tell me hands off cuz it's environmentally protected mosquito and deerfly habitat...

BTW... you can dehydrate them to preserve them and they are simply delish! Natural candy!

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 16:38 | 5131454 El Vaquero
El Vaquero's picture

Those particular melons will handle a soil Ph of 8.0 without a problem. 

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 17:07 | 5131545 ZerOhead
ZerOhead's picture

I'm in the range of 5.5 to 6 naturally. Cantaloupes and spuds love it and there is no need to water. The bear that found my patch should have wrote me a 'thank-you' note...

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 17:18 | 5131601 Harbanger
Harbanger's picture

+1 for "environmentally protected mosquito and deerfly habitat..."

It would be funny if it weren't true.  Why do you hate the planet?

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 17:45 | 5131702 ZerOhead
ZerOhead's picture

I love the planet. I also love most people. Not so crazy about what some people do to the planet or each other however.

If this sucker crashes the way I think it's going to crash they will have to come up with a new word to describe it. Capital (and fertilizer and oil) intensive modern agriculture may not be around to the same degree so naturally productive soils will have to be farmed whatever their current environmental status. Till then the swarms of iridescent dragonflys are a sight to behold...

Fruits and veggies grown in rich organic soils. Only the good stuff you mainly harvest by hand.


Fri, 08/22/2014 - 16:13 | 5131336 whatsinaname
whatsinaname's picture

Arizona has been seeing some good rainfall the last 2 weeks. Is that going to help in anyway ? 

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 16:40 | 5131457 seek
seek's picture

Not really, the only watershed in AZ that Cali experiences is the same one Las Vegas draws from -- the far north AZ watershed dumps into Colorado, which goes into Lake Powell/Lake Mead. Cali's share of the Colorado is fixed by a multi-state water agreement. So only a very small portion of the rain in AZ fed into the Colorado, and that's virtually nothing -- and it'll go into replenishing the lakes, and Cali will only get a sliver of whatever is released due to the water sharing agreement.

AZ has much better water management policy than CA, and isn't seeing the same level of drought, so it's much better off comparatively. Still using water in stupid ways, but nowhere near the scale it's done in Cali.

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 21:07 | 5132664 decon
decon's picture

As a native of AZ I can tell you that we are light years ahead of CA in water mgt.  But regardless, as they say in AZ, "whiskey's for drinking and water's for fighting".

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 16:15 | 5131355 SilverRhino
SilverRhino's picture

Easy solution .... nuclear powered iceberg tugboats from the Arctic to the California coast. 

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 21:24 | 5132742 Abbie Normal
Abbie Normal's picture

Except that all of the Arctice ice is gone by mid-summer.

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 16:24 | 5131380 mr1963
mr1963's picture

Illinois is broke -- dead broke. Illinois has water. Illinois has no compunction about breaking the Graet Lakes Compact. Illinois, Georgia, Texas, California are calling...

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 19:04 | 5132104 Barley Burnside
Barley Burnside's picture

Don't worry people. All is going to plan. Piglosi is just draining the swamp like she promised..

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 15:58 | 5131268 john39
john39's picture

agenda 21, bitches...

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 15:57 | 5131270 clade7
clade7's picture

Wheres hurricane Gussie when you need her?

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 16:00 | 5131286 Matt
Matt's picture

Just drill into the mantle, theres tons of water there.

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 16:08 | 5131314 cougar_w
cougar_w's picture

And you know this how?

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 16:12 | 5131334 NYPoke
NYPoke's picture

Geologists found it not too long ago.  A VERY deep reservoir.  


The Book of Genesis was correct.  Springs of the Deep do indeed exist.

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 16:22 | 5131381 cougar_w
cougar_w's picture

VERY deep might as well be on the other side of the Moon.

Less deep, we have oceans full of water. We know how to make that water potable. We don't do it because it takes money, whereas speculating about water VERY deep can lull us into not worrying because technology will surely find a way.

Passive. Just sitting around waiting to die.

Well get ready to go thirsty cuz that's all you got now.

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 16:36 | 5131447 Harbanger
Harbanger's picture

Ask an Aussie how they do it, it's kinda dry down there and they have to manage their drinking water. 

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 16:41 | 5131464 El Vaquero
El Vaquero's picture

They mostly live in the areas that get rain. 

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 16:51 | 5131496 Harbanger
Harbanger's picture

You must have given your teachers a headache.  They're at the forefront of water recycling and Desalination.  If you're interest here's an article with real solutions.

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 16:55 | 5131513 El Vaquero
Fri, 08/22/2014 - 17:08 | 5131565 Harbanger
Harbanger's picture

Are you saying they have enough water and their whole water management system is not needed?  Of course more people live where there is more rain, anywhere in the world.

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 16:51 | 5131494 Bollixed
Bollixed's picture

"The Book of Genesis was correct.  Springs of the Deep do indeed exist."

Well, (no pun intended) my neighbor says the Earth is just 6,000 years old so those Springs of the Deep would have been only 4,500 years old back then.

But since there were apparently no Chinese or Blacks or Russians or Native Americans, et al, back then those springs no doubt were full.

Full of what I'm not sure, but according to his beliefs it was probably dinosaur piss...


Fri, 08/22/2014 - 17:07 | 5131557 NYPoke
NYPoke's picture

Actually, he isn't far off.  He probably skipped his math/science classes.  Given Relativity, creation/the Big Bang was about 6 days ago, from perspective of the center of the Universe.


6000 years back to before The Flood works okay.  Ninevah, Egypt & Babylon show up about the time the Flood was supposed to happen.  No record of what happened before that.


The Persian Gulf was a tropical paradise about then as well.  And, the "head waters" of the 4 Rivers can be translated as converging at one point, not originating.  2 other ancient rivers meet exactly where the two known ones meet.  Genesis is actually very accurate.


It all does work out, as long as you do your research...and never, ever ignore Physics.


Fri, 08/22/2014 - 17:29 | 5131631 ZerOhead
ZerOhead's picture

Mesopotamia was a dustbowl before the Sumerian civilization came along and irrigated it...

Here's a recently discovered 10,000 year old temple complex called Gobekli Tepe. Perhaps one of the first in the world. don't think they were worshipping the Canaanite god El or the Semite god Yahweh however... looks a little animalistic...

Sat, 08/23/2014 - 00:22 | 5132581 sixsigma cygnus...
sixsigma cygnusatratus's picture

Inanna, Gilgamesh & Enkidu.  Ok, but besides irrigating the desert, inventing the wheel, inventing writing, forming laws, creating the concept of religion and the first religion, inventing agriculture as a means of survival, and developing civilization among other things, what have the Sumerians ever done for us?

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 18:43 | 5131998 Bollixed
Bollixed's picture

"Given Relativity, creation/the Big Bang was about 6 days ago, from perspective of the center of the Universe."

That's an interesting perspective from a scientic standpoint. Never looked at it that way before. But given relativity...

But his beliefs are that science is bullcrap and that the Earth was created in it's current state and man coexisited with dinosaurs. I could try to explain continental drift to him to help him understand 'time' but it would be useless. There's no Book of Continental Drift so it has to be bogus.


Sat, 08/23/2014 - 12:27 | 5132967 NYPoke
NYPoke's picture

Been around church most of my life, so yes, I do know the type.  The good ones just have Faith that it is correct.  Most want to argue about it...and not have Faith.


The Left & The Right arguing about it gives me a headache.  The best people I've known, many who helped raised me, just went about their business...which is what the New Testament mostly teaches...unless it is an issue with within the church, never outside.

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 16:16 | 5131348 justmy2cents
justmy2cents's picture

True! Some estimates put the earths total water at 5 times the amount of what's in the oceans in the mantle with the biggest deposits under the sahara desert I believe, now if I just had a shovel...

First hypothesised by British researchers in the 60's and more or less confirmed in the last several years. Source: sciencedaily

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 16:03 | 5131294 sixsigma cygnus...
sixsigma cygnusatratus's picture

Another liquidity problem, I see...

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 16:05 | 5131302 koddo
koddo's picture

We are having a very wet monsoon season here in AZ.  No signs of drought here.

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 16:09 | 5131319 HobbyFarmer
HobbyFarmer's picture

Much of the fresh food found at your local grocery store comes from CA.  The drought will increase the cost of these foods.

A simple solution to counteract this rising cost is to grow your own favorite fruits/veggies at home.  Small square foot gardens, planted intensively, can provide dramatic amounts of salad greens, tomatoes, fresh peas, carrots, etc.  It doesn't take much space and reduces the caloric cost of transporting food grown in CA to your kitchen.  Use heirloom seeds and you can have an endless supply of seeds for future plantings.  Youtube has a tremendous amount of helpful videos to teach even the least experienced how to garden successfully!

There is wisdom (and better health) by gardening.  If you're not interested in getting your hands dirty, consider purchasing locally and supporting farmers markets.  Talk to the local farmers, understand their growing techniques, and support them by purchasing their products.

If the CA drought never ends, my family will continue to eat because of the steps I've taken to develop a permaculture hobby farm.  It's rewarding and fun....and a fantastic place to raise my sons.  I consider the steps that I'm taking today, to improve my soil, develop swales for long term water holding, cisterns, orchard plantings, etc as a legacy I will leave to my boys and eventual grandchildren.

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 16:22 | 5131386 FeralSerf
FeralSerf's picture

Home gardens need water too. In dry states like California, that water must come from the water mains. Guess where the water mains get the water.

Home grown produce is often more expensive than store bought produce because of the expense of metered domestic water used to irrigate the gardens.

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 16:43 | 5131475 HobbyFarmer
HobbyFarmer's picture

Rain gutters to cisterns, swales to trap and hold any moisture, seeds adapted to dry growing/drought conditions.  There's a lot that an individual can do to provide for themselves.

If I lived in CA (I live in the midwest now, but have lived in the westfor 8 of the past 16 years) I am sure I could find a way to keep some garden space growing. 

Google Geoff Lawton's "greening the desert" for an idea of what is possible.  He took a challenge and planted a couple acres a kilometer or two away from the dead sea.  The results are astounding.

Anyway, there is always hope for those willing to try.

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 17:13 | 5131578 El Vaquero
El Vaquero's picture

It helps if you don't care about keeping cultivars pure too.  To me, summer squash is summer squash.  I have a few plants producing summer squashes that would raise an eyebrow.  One is a cross between a white scalloped squash and a yellow squash.  Everything that it produces is white.  Some are shaped like like a yellow squash with little ribs around the center like it tried to be a scalloped (patty pan) squash and failed.  Others are just these big white balls, and others are big white balls with ridges around the center like a scalloped squash.  I already have the individual squashes that I'll be saving seed from marked, and I'm letting the bees do the pollenating.  I'm going to get some really weird shit next year, but it all tastes good*.


Doing it that way means that you don't have to purchase nearly as much seed, and it reduces the workload of bagging blossoms, etc... and it also gives you more possibilities when it comes to selecting from individual plants that did better in your conditions. 


*So long as it doesn't cross with the Buffalo Gourds, aka stinky-ass ditch gourds.  There's less than a 3% chance of that though.

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 17:14 | 5131583 Freedom In Your...
Freedom In Your Lifetime's picture

Correct you are. Waste water from laundry machines, showers, sinks, etc. are only called 'waste' because of a lack of imagination. A little ingenuity foresight and that all becomes your irrigation water. Couople that with some deep mulch in the garden beds to minimize evaporation and drought tolerante strains and you'd be surprised how much food you can grow without much well or meter water.

The world, or even the state of california doesn't have an overpopulation problem, it just has an overabundance of greed and stupid problem.

Sat, 08/23/2014 - 18:20 | 5135257 VWAndy
VWAndy's picture


Fri, 08/22/2014 - 16:23 | 5131387 falconflight
falconflight's picture

That's great.  Thx for sharing your story.  I just hope you're not placed on the terror watch list for aspiring toward some measure of self sufficiency.  

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 17:46 | 5131733 knukles
knukles's picture

What were your addresses again?

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 16:24 | 5131392 css1971
css1971's picture

The heirloom stuff tastes better too. The supermarket veggies are chosen because that species stores well.

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 16:47 | 5131478 El Vaquero
El Vaquero's picture

And ships well.  And it all matures on the same day.  And is consistent in size/shape where required for mechanical harvesting. 


The heirloom stuff doesn't always taste better, but you have so many choices that you will be able to find something that suits your tastes better than stuff from the store.  Where I live, it is rather brutal for non-native plants, so I'm breeding my own cultivars and using heirlooms that originally come from my area.  You'll also discover other vegetables that aren't commonly sold in stores.  Some you'll love, some will be "meh," and others you'll hate, but you'll get real variety. 

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 18:53 | 5132006 MsCitizen2
MsCitizen2's picture

You have my respect - if not a little envy!  You are absolutely correct that you are leaving a "legacy" to your children and grandchildren, which is quite likely more valuable than any stocks or bonds.

In fact, I have considered placing heirloom garden seeds in the Svaalbard Seed Bank for the purpose of leaving such a legacy. 

We cannot possibly imagine what future generations may be forced to face - given, not only the gross mismanagement of our economic system, but of our agronomic system.  What value gold and silver if your loved ones have nothing to eat?  If GMOs eventually serve to contaminate the ecosystem, how can Eden be restored?  (Which possibility, I believe, is the real reason why Svaalbard came into being!)

GMOs and Hybrids can not guarantee food sustainability... only heirloom varieties can offer that assurance.

Betteryet, backyard gardeners who keep those heirloom plant genes adapting to local climate from year to year to year, in order to ensure that their seed is not only adaptable - but viable. 

Thanks to El Valquero for sharing his expertise in growing heirloom melon (I bet they are delicious!); and for the link to his local seed sharing cooperative for Southwestern heirlooms. 

Although I do not live in your part of the country it is prudent to store seed varieties that are drought tolerant - and I am always on the lookout for heirloom beans - and for flynt or dent corn, which can be stored and ground for meal. 

Again, thanks for sharing.  May your crops always flourish!

Sat, 08/23/2014 - 02:23 | 5133465 Lin S
Lin S's picture

Call me crazy but I'd wager everything that your legacy is going to be squashed by WWIII.

Sorry but yeah.

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 16:09 | 5131320 ShrNfr
ShrNfr's picture

"As such, it is nearly impossible to curtail or re-allocate water in an equitable manner among water users and to effectively manage for environmental water needs.” - Translation: Food stamp users get water. People who grow stuff and make stuff don't.

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 16:19 | 5131373 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Coming soon to a Cali county near water stamps.

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 16:33 | 5131438 notadouche
notadouche's picture

Nope, Water Credits, available for purchase like Carbon Credits.  If you got the wealth, you get to use the fossil fuels where others don't.  Same goes for water,  If you pay for the Water Credit, you will get to use at will.  If not, NO WATER FOR YOU. NEXT!  (Think Soup Nazi from Seinfeld)

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 17:04 | 5131541 DollarMenu
DollarMenu's picture

Not so sure, if, as is stated above:

" water right allocations total almost *five times* the state’s mean annual runoff, and account for up to 1000% of natural surface water supplies in the major river basins."

they have already "Ponzied"  up the supply.


Fri, 08/22/2014 - 16:13 | 5131331 Joebloinvestor
Joebloinvestor's picture

Notice no mention of how infrastructure was improved.

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 16:12 | 5131333 El Vaquero
El Vaquero's picture

I'll say it again:  Those California farmers ought to get used to growing tepary beans and other drought resistant crops.


In 1912, ethnographer Carl Lumholtz found small cultivated fields primarily of tepary beans in the Pinacate Peaks area of Sonora. In the Pinacate, with an average annual precipitation of 75 mm (3 inches) and temperatures up to 48 °C (118 °F), Papago and Mexican farmers utilized runoff from sparse rains to grow crops. In the 1980s author Gary Paul Nabhan visited this area, and found one farm family taking advantage of the first large rain in six years, planting seeds in the wet ground and harvesting a crop two months later. The most successful crops were tepary beans and a drought-adapted squash. Nabhan calculated that the cultivation in the Pinacate was the most arid area in the world where rain-fed agriculture is practiced.[10]


Fri, 08/22/2014 - 16:27 | 5131404 FeralSerf
FeralSerf's picture

How many bushels per acre?

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 16:29 | 5131421 El Vaquero
El Vaquero's picture

It's not a terribly well studied crop, but under dry farming conditions, about 700lbs of dry beans per acre, and if you water it some (not much compared to what they grow in California now,) and make sure the soil is healthy, upwards of 1400lbs per acre.  They taste really, really good too.  On top of that, 1-3 small seed packets are enough to produce enough seed to plant an entire acre.  One bush can easially produce 100 pods. 

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 16:15 | 5131350 Rehab Willie
Rehab Willie's picture

Ferguson police state is a dress rehearsal for California

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 16:18 | 5131352 cougar_w
cougar_w's picture

California can also have what I call "paper droughts" or droughts-in-theory meaning the native plants and animals are fine, but Big Ag and the metro areas are bent over screaming.

Not enough water -- for their particular bullshit.

I say bullshit because there is a lot of waste. It's really stupid actually. Growing rice in a desert? Who thought that was a good idea. Wait you sprinkle your orchard during the heat of the day for 4 months solid just to put on another bushel of apples per tree? Must be nice. Golf courses every few miles? Fuck the golfers they can take up checkers like old farts used to play. Swimming pools taking up the entire yard behind 4 homes out of 5? Who said you were important enough to have a swimming pool, fag.

On and on.

But it's all on paper, we make our own problems then act like God has abandoned us.

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 16:19 | 5131371 El Vaquero
El Vaquero's picture

We have become an unimaginative society.  The status quo is failing, and we (in the collective sense) do not just fail to see it, we refuse to see it.  Change is upon us, whether we like it or not.  It is unpleasant for most to even ponder, but, none the less, it must be faced. 

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 16:26 | 5131405 cougar_w
cougar_w's picture

"Change is upon us, whether we like it or not."

A lot of the kicking and screaming is like a toddler having a fit. Will prove about as useful, too.

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 16:28 | 5131399 Kirk2NCC1701
Kirk2NCC1701's picture

And, to remain objective, if we do a Pareto of who uses water for what, you will find that...

1. Biggest user of H2O is Agriculture.  Spray dem Veggie Fields!  Year round!  Cause dey got Lobbyists.

2. 2nd biggest user of H2O is Industry.  They too have Lobbyists.

3.  Bronze Medal goes to Residential Users.  No lobbyists for you!  You get Conservation Groups.

So, if you want to know/guess who is being asked to "Conserve", just pretend that Lobby-Power = Water Rights.  Oh, wait, you don't have to pretend.  Just accept that this is 'Merica, where Lobby-Power rules.

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 17:03 | 5131536 nc551
nc551's picture

When I was a kid growing up in LA in the 90's I remember there was a 'bad' drought.  I distinctly remember how everyone was shamed into not watering there grass, not flushing, etc and it turned out residential usage was something like 7% of the entire state water budget.  They could stop all residential use and it probably wouldn't make much of a difference at this point.

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 17:09 | 5131562 DollarMenu
DollarMenu's picture

On a trip thru central valley last spring, I saw acres of almond trees being ripped out to be replaced with grapevines.

Apparently the grapes require much less water.


Fri, 08/22/2014 - 17:57 | 5131790 knukles
knukles's picture

A lot of the rice, water intensive type crops are being phased out due to the increasing cost/availability of water.  In fact, numerous rice farmers are leaving land unplanted and simply selling their water allotments.  Likewise, much of the valley in the areas I'm familiar with (no rice around here, BTW) are converting to pipe fed linear limited area low volume or drip ...  Miles and miles of pipe being laid (or there) for that purpose which used to link fields of old fashioned big acreage sprinkles are now linking drip, low volume delivery systems.  In many cases, the miles of pipe was already there... just the applicators being changed out.
But all things considered, the hew and cry is about personal consumption when in fact household usage is next to zilch in the big picture.  Next are parks and recreation including golf courses, etc.  But the vast majority is agricultural.  Most people don't know, BTW that CA is the largest dairy and cattle state, not just green shit (which many like myself believe deserve only limited plate space as garnish about the meat)

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 19:29 | 5132210 Hovel Downs
Hovel Downs's picture

Grape roots burrow deep into the subsoil in order to provide the wines we need to subsist. Fucking humans...

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 18:26 | 5131924 bluskyes
bluskyes's picture

Our memories are short.

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 16:16 | 5131360 FeralSerf
FeralSerf's picture

"Continued, excessive extraction of groundwater can lead to land subsistence . . ."

Land "subsistence"?

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 16:22 | 5131385 Citxmech
Citxmech's picture

aka:  Sinkholes.

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 16:27 | 5131412 FeralSerf
FeralSerf's picture

Since when is a sinkhole "subsistence"?

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 16:28 | 5131413 cougar_w
cougar_w's picture

Subsidence is the desired term.


Fri, 08/22/2014 - 17:36 | 5131691 SquadronVBF94
SquadronVBF94's picture

i.e. giant sink holes.  But thenisn't that the definition of California?

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 16:27 | 5131410 p00k1e
p00k1e's picture
Nine Inch Nails - Survivalism

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 16:29 | 5131418 notadouche
notadouche's picture

We as a society have complained about the weatherman and their lack of success predicting the weather on a daily, or weekly basis yet somehow many put faith in "climate models" that assume to know what the the long term outcome of weather will be, unless of course we "do something".  That something always circles back to funding, funding that eminates from increased taxation.

Those "climate models" are as useful as raindances and those traveling "Elmer Gantry snake oil hucksters" of days gone by.  Every time an area goes through a drought the fear, panic and lost income from the agriculture sector feeds dire predictions of never raining again.  The hucksters back then made money of the desperate locals just as today, only the hucksters are the government funded scientist and their "climate models".   I don't pretend it isn't painful and feels as though there is no end in sight when you are living through it but rain will come again and the drought will be broken as they have since the beginning of time.  

Texas has gone through a similar drought situation for a couple of years but California seems to be "more important" and cry louder.  I suppose the group that has managed to ram all of these ecological "fixes" with the associated tax hike are shocked that it doesn't matter.  Instead of realizing the futility of it all they somehow manage to get a way with a narrative of "see, look whats happening.  We told you so and we need more regulation and tax dollars" as if more tax dollars and regulation will somehow magically control the weather.  

Sat, 08/23/2014 - 15:58 | 5134876 HughK
HughK's picture

Yes, I'm sure that tranferring 200 million years worth of carbon (i.e. coal and oil) from the ground to the air in a few hundred years will have no effect on climate.  The same peer-reviewed science that brought you radio transmissions, microchips, nuclear power plants, a mapped human genome, and viagra also brought you climate science.  

Of course the science isn't perfect, but man-made global warming generally describes a bunch of phenomena, ranging from the melting of mountain glaciers at a very rapid rate to an increase in tropical superstorms such as the massive hurricanes of 2005 and Typhoon Haiyan, and of course including the Western drought.  

No, we can't say that anyone one of these events was caused solely by climate change, and scientists don't claim that.  They just say that pumping more greenhouse gasses into the air forces warming (which, is amplified by natural positive feedback dynamics), and that such warming makes these events are more likely. 

Do you know what ocean acidification is?  Anyone skeptical on climate change ought to start learning about ocean acidification.  It's a good place to cut one's teeth in terms of the massive shifts to the biosphere we are forcing by burning fossil fuels.

I would be very happy if climate science was wrong, and if we were facing neither climate change nor ocean acidification.  But, it looks like we're causing both.

If this doesn't fit into your free-market ideology, I'm sorry.  I would rather that there were fewer natural limits to exponential industrial growth as well.  While it might be fun, and easy, to assume that all climate scientitsts and commenters like me are watermelons (green on the outside, but red on the inside), that's not the case.  I am not, nor have I ever been a member of that party.

It's just that we see a long term consequences being caused by short-term thinking.  Just as people (including me) gripe about the short-term policymaking of the Fed, which we can be pretty sure will create some very long-term consequences, so too are there long-term consequences to burning fossil fuels.  Except that they last just a tiny bit longer than the economic problems.

I'm not saying that burning fossil fuels is evil;  I'm just saying that it will produce very serious consequences.  That's science.

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 16:31 | 5131425 limacon
limacon's picture

WaterWars I : LA vs Rest of California

WaterWars II : LA vs Chicago

WaterWars III : LA vs LA

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 16:33 | 5131436 bid the soldier...
bid the soldiers shoot's picture

now being compared to the last major drought which took place during 1976 and 1977.

Except California's population was around 20 million less in 1976, and who knows how many fewer golf courses, swimming pools an hotel rooms there were then.

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 17:09 | 5131561 Hal n back
Hal n back's picture

Go to Vegas, an environmentalist' s nightmare.


My first trip there was in 1970 just after I was separated from the army.


It had the downtown area and the strip--the strip--let me explain Ceasars palace--ther ewas a long driveway in front leading to one building with a pool or more appropriately a water feature in fron of it. Acorss the street was teh Sands-the 8 or so story roound building and in the back was a pool and 4 0r 5 2 story motel type buildings.


Getting from one casino to another was easy-just walk across the street.


Fast forward to today: the water features in front of the hotels take up acres and are tall, and evaporate water. Hotels have several pools evaporating water.

Concrete and ashpalt everywhere, meaning summer heat is retained.


to save water the casino  hotels ask you to keep your sheets your entire stay and not wash towels. Ok it helps, but get rid of those fricking monster electronic signs and water parks at each hotel.


ok, then go inside--sane crazy use of water.


by the way, is it still hydroelectrics? In 1970, when you visited hoover dam and lake Mead you actually went inside the dam and saw the gernerators or turbines or whatever they were called.


they call this progress?


the business of america is business, and its getting pretty well screwed up.


getting hard to see where the upside is.


Fri, 08/22/2014 - 16:36 | 5131442 coast
coast's picture

This article totally sucks....If you want to really know what is going on just go into your

search engine, I use startpage...type in "northern california drought"  and "california drought monitor"

 It is much worse than most are saying I have done the research.  Do a recent search also.

For the person who wrote Agenda 21,  you are correct....Chemtrails and HAARP, and they have no intentions

of changing....Here is a 30 minute video with proof...People best wake up!

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 16:37 | 5131443 SgtSchultz
SgtSchultz's picture

Whats the big deal? Water is always available at the store.

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 17:08 | 5131560 Jack Burton
Jack Burton's picture

The El Nino event that could rescue California from this drought seems to be coming in fits and starts. It looked like a sure bet early this spring that the massive west Pacific Ocean heat build up would move East and for the El Nino, this wouls bring the Pacific Storm track right over California. But now, the Pacific Cycles seem to be a bit out of wack. If El Nino fails, and it might, then God Help California.

From climate records, paleo climate records, like tree rings and others, it is known that epic drought is no stranger to the American SW.  It is also a known fact that California's great century long growth spurt, and epic economic growth, came at a time of unusual wet climate, in fact, some of the msot favorable climate possible in America's SW. Now, if that is over, and the longer dry periods begin, than hell is on the way. All those mega cities, without water? That is one thing that can not be made up for. Oil and Water, the two define modern civilization.

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 17:09 | 5131567 lex parsimoniae
lex parsimoniae's picture

Been here through all the droughts in the last 40 years. An earlier post referred to lobby-power; indeed! The present drought is bad but it may not have been so bad for agriculture if the Sierra Club & other environmentalist groups had not successfully pushed for removal of existing dams, placed long ago as part of a responsible water management plan.

The link below lists at least 8 dams that have been removed rather than refurbished... Damned unintended consquences!


Sat, 08/23/2014 - 02:34 | 5133472 Kprime
Kprime's picture

perhaps an intended consequence

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 17:26 | 5131629 Unstable Condition
Unstable Condition's picture

The climate in Commiefornia through the last 100+ years has been unusually wet compared to the last 1,000.


Sat, 08/23/2014 - 15:36 | 5134811 HughK
HughK's picture

Your use of the term Commiefornia tells us more about your wacky ideas of what capitalism is and is not, and less about the Left Coast.  After all, this is the home of Proposition 13, which gutted California schools in the name of lower property taxes.

"Commiefornia" is the home of thousand of successful companies, including:



Hewlett Packard


Del Monte




Levi Strauss


The North Face

Occidental Petroleum

Paramount Pictures



No need to go on.  The idea that California is anything but capitalist just shows how extreme free market fundamentalist ideology has become.

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 17:26 | 5131646 malek
malek's picture

 drought in California is showing no signs of letting up

Yeah, I'd be highly surprised if it let up in the midst of summer...

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 17:33 | 5131678 loregnum
loregnum's picture

Man-made global warming! The records dating back a whole 120 years on a planet that has been around for billions says so. In all those billions there were never any crazy temperature/climate periods until the humans started to build their SUVs. Fact!

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 17:42 | 5131719 cougar_w
cougar_w's picture

Just so you understand your personal situation, you plainly don't know shit about it.

No problem. Glad I could help.

Sat, 08/23/2014 - 01:21 | 5133381 HumanResourceProblem
HumanResourceProblem's picture

Ah...not really. A bad drought in 1988 killed practically all the cattle, ending the first California real estate boom.

Sat, 08/23/2014 - 14:21 | 5134584 HughK
HughK's picture

Keep setting up straw men, loregnum.  You'll need them when your corn crop is dessicating in the Great Western Desert.  (Due, in part, to anthropogenic global warming.)

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 17:54 | 5131779 SmittyinLA
SmittyinLA's picture

Bottom line: The Mexican invasion needs MOAR water and Mexicans control the CA legislature, water wars are coming, Socialized water is here.

Sat, 08/23/2014 - 02:15 | 5133454 Lin S
Lin S's picture

+ 1000

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 17:58 | 5131793 bluskyes
bluskyes's picture

Dissolve the California state government.

Stop all Federal subsidies.

in a few years, 90% of the people/businesses/farms will leave, and the problem will be solved by the free market.

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 18:28 | 5131939 mendolover
mendolover's picture

Have no fear!  Israel is here!

But at least CA has all that radioactive ocean water.  Not so much for Vegas.

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 18:34 | 5131971 Atomizer
Atomizer's picture

Play to go urine Peecycling brigade. 

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 18:35 | 5131975 U4 eee aaa
U4 eee aaa's picture

I still say the water was held in a rock basin and all that fracking cracked the basin and drained the water table

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 19:00 | 5132082 Grouchy Marx
Grouchy Marx's picture

Why don't they just buy bottled water like the rest of the country? 

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 19:33 | 5132236 I Write Code
I Write Code's picture

Desalination is clearly needed to so the cities have a reliable source.  Current desal technology is plenty cheap enough for urban water rates.  I think most golf courses and such are already using "grey" water.

So then the real issue would be agriculture and the drought - not to mention the insane overbuilding of Las Vegas, but that's not California.  And Arizona also depends on the Colorado River.  Can we reroute a few thousand square miles of Rocky Mountain watershed so they head southwest?  Would even that be enough?

We can still do agriculture with more intensive care and more expensive water, but of course the food comes out much more expensive too.

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 19:45 | 5132278 NoTTD
NoTTD's picture

The difference between now and the 70s is the idiotic water management which CA and the Feds have been engaging in for 30+ years.   

Sat, 08/23/2014 - 14:19 | 5134580 HughK
HughK's picture

That and a little thing called climate change, which increases the likelihood of droughts in the Western U.S.

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 21:52 | 5132859 americanspirit
americanspirit's picture

If it's yellow, let it mellow. If its brown, flush it down.

A mantra from the 60's that if followed would reduce water consumption in urban areas by 60-80%.

Flush toilets + ignorance = water shortage.

Sat, 08/23/2014 - 11:57 | 5134223 Reader1
Reader1's picture

Is that why they poop in the streets in San Fran?

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 22:15 | 5132948 patb
patb's picture

the issue is the water rights were sold off 150 years ago.  


There is water but, it's sold

Sat, 08/23/2014 - 01:24 | 5133388 HumanResourceProblem
HumanResourceProblem's picture

Let them drink scotch!

Sat, 08/23/2014 - 04:49 | 5133560 CHX
CHX's picture

The end of the rail road. Let them print water.

Sat, 08/23/2014 - 08:25 | 5133778 Ghostdog
Ghostdog's picture

"Forget it Jake, It's Chinatown"

Sat, 08/23/2014 - 09:30 | 5133888 esum
esum's picture

THEY GROW WHEAT IN SAUDI ARABIA...... libtard kalifornia go fuck yourself  

Sat, 08/23/2014 - 14:19 | 5134577 HughK
HughK's picture

They're growing less and less wheat in Saudi Arabia every year because it's not sustainable, even when you have massive amounts of money and oil.

Sat, 08/23/2014 - 12:02 | 5134237 Reader1
Reader1's picture

water right allocations total almost *five times* the state’s mean annual runoff, and account for up to 1000% of natural surface water supplies in the major river basins.


So did they rehypothecate water?

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