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California Has Never Experienced A Water Crisis Of This Magnitude – And The Worst Is Yet To Come

California Has Never Experienced A Water Crisis Of This Magnitude – And The Worst Is Yet To Come thumbnail

Things have never been this dry for this long in the recorded history of the state of California, and this has created an unprecedented water crisis.  At this point, 1,900 wells have already gone completely dry in California, and some communities are not receiving any more water at all.  As you read this article, 100 percent of the state is in some stage of drought, and there has been so little precipitation this year that some young children have never actually seen rain.

This is already the worst multi-year drought in the history of the state of California, but this may only be just the beginning.  Scientists tell us that the amount of rain that California received during the 20th century was highly unusual.  In fact, they tell us that it was the wettest century for the state in at least 1000 years.

Now that things are returning to “normal”, the state is completely and total unprepared for it.  California has never experienced a water crisis of this magnitude, and other states in the western half of the nation are starting to really suffer as well.  In the end, we could very well be headed for the worst water crisis this country has ever seen.

When I said that some communities in California are not receiving any more water, I was not exaggerating.  Just consider the following excerpt from one recent news report

The community of Mountain House is days away from having no water at all after the state cut off its only water source.


Anthony Gordon saves drinking water just in case, even though he never thought it would come to this.


“My wife thinks I’m nuts. I have like 500 gallons of drinking water stored in my home,” he said.


The upscale community of Mountain House, west of Tracy, is days away from having no water. It’s not just about lawns—there may not be a drop for the 15,000 residents to drink.

So what are those people going to do?

And what is this going to do to the property values in that area?

Who in the world is going to want to buy a home that does not have running water coming to it?

Other communities throughout the state are pumping groundwater like crazy in a desperate attempt to continue with business as usual.  In fact, it is being projected that groundwater will account for almost all water used in the entire state by the end of this year

Underground aquifers supply 35 percent of the water used by humans worldwide. Demand is even greater in times of drought. Rain-starved California is currently tapping aquifers for 60 percent of its water use as its rivers and above-ground reservoirs dry up, a steep increase from the usual 40 percent. Some expect water from aquifers will account for virtually every drop of the state’s fresh water supply by year end.

But of course this creates a huge problem.  When the groundwater is gone, it is gone for good.  Those aquifers took centuries to fill up, and now they are being drained at a staggering rate.  In some parts of the state, aquifers are being drained so fast that it is causing thousands of square miles of land to sink

Californians have been draining water so rapidly from underground aquifers that tens of thousands of square miles of land reportedly are sinking — so drastically that the shifting surface is starting to destroy bridges and crack highways across the state, according to a recent report by the Center for Investigative Reporting.

So what is the solution?

Some of my readers have suggested that desalination is the answer.  But the truth is that desalination is very expensive and it is really bad for the environment.  The following comes from a recent Natural News article

For those who are saying, “There’s no water problem in California! It has the entire Pacific Ocean right next door!”, you need to look into the catastrophic environmental destruction tied to ocean water desalination.


Not only does desalination use fossil fuels which emit the very same carbon emissions that the California government insists caused the drought in the first place, the desalination process itself pollutes the ocean with high concentration salt brine that kills marine ecosystems and destroys ocean life along the California coastline.


And that’s on top of all the Fukushima radiation that’s already causing a marine ecosystem collapse in many areas of the coast. Add more salt brine to the mix and you get a state where rich, self-entitled Hollywood celebrities demand their lush, green lawns at the expense of ocean life, climate change and the global ecosystem. If that happens, California will lose all credibility as a “green” state, and its wealthiest residents will be living an ecological lie.

Others have suggested that California can solve their water problems using “toilet to tap” technology

Potable water reuse – or converting sewage effluent to heavily-treated, purified drinking water – is receiving renewed attention in California in the midst of the state’s four-year drought.


According to a report by the Los Angeles Times, “California water managers and environmentalists” are pushing the idea of recycled sewage water. Yet past efforts in the state to employ similar systems have stalled, as opponents have dubbed the concept “toilet to tap.”

How would you feel about that?

Would you be willing to have your family drink water that came from the toilets of your neighbors?

I don’t think that I could do that.

But something has to be done.  It is not just the state of California that is experiencing a major water crisis.  All over the world, underground aquifers are being drained rapidly.  In fact, according to the Washington Post, 21 out of the 37 largest aquifers in the world “have passed their sustainability tipping points”…

The world’s largest underground aquifers – a source of fresh water for hundreds of millions of people — are being depleted at alarming rates, according to new NASA satellite data that provides the most detailed picture yet of vital water reserves hidden under the Earth’s surface.


Twenty-one of the world’s 37 largest aquifers — in locations from India and China to the United States and France — have passed their sustainability tipping points, meaning more water was removed than replaced during the decade-long study period, researchers announced Tuesday. Thirteen aquifers declined at rates that put them into the most troubled category. The researchers said this indicated a long-term problem that’s likely to worsen as reliance on aquifers grows.

Sadly, this is just the beginning.  There is a reason why experts refer to fresh water as “the new oil”.  Without fresh water, none of us can survive.  But we are very quickly getting to the point where there simply won’t be enough of it for everyone on the planet.

As for the state of California, it was once a desert and now it is turning back into a desert As I mentioned earlier, the 20th century was the wettest century that part of North America had seen in at least 1000 years.  During that time, we built enormous cities all over the Southwest that currently support millions upon millions of people.  But now we are learning that those cities are not sustainable.

The Economic Collapse blog

83 Comments on "California Has Never Experienced A Water Crisis Of This Magnitude – And The Worst Is Yet To Come"

  1. Boat on Sat, 20th Jun 2015 4:45 am 

    Ask Israel how they deal with a lack of water. They also found a huge nat gas field. The natural environment with a little tech supplied.

  2. Davy on Sat, 20th Jun 2015 5:00 am 

    Boat, desalinization at what scale will add $5-7 to the bill in San Diego? You are saying 3.2 Million people can be supported by desalinization? Will that scale up to 38MIL people in California? How about 60MIL? Seems like allot of brine and energy needs. Might take years to build out all that infrastructure and the problems are now. What will you do in the mean time? What does that do to growth? Is that one of those win win situations where increased costs and environmental issues translate into increased GDP and more growth? Come on Boat get real man at some point we are just hairless apes living within natural limits not divine exceptional humans transcending nature’s limits indefinitely. Boat you remind me of a dubious Monsanto commercial with the happy well-dressed farmer in a sunny manicured field smiling and saying the future is wonderful.

  3. theedrich on Sat, 20th Jun 2015 6:05 am 

    Decades ago James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis came up with the “Gaia” hypothesis that the earth itself was alive in some sense, with lots of cybernetic feedback mechanisms to keep the biosphere ticking.  Yes, the theory has been strongly attacked by many as being crypto-religious.  Yet it may be that this idea is essentially correct, and that the earth is now beginning to put brakes on the deadly, anti-evolutionary forces that modern “liberal” civilization has unleashed on the biosphere.  Modern materialistic thought ridicules the idea of a planet having any kind of subconscious.  But we may now be starting to witness Gaia’s lack of tolerance for a planeticidal species such as homo sapiens.

  4. Boat on Sat, 20th Jun 2015 6:12 am 

    Lol Davy, all I did was show what one city did for their water problem. Other critics pointed there were other alternatives that were cheaper. Then of course Israel who is an excellent example of how a huge area can watered.
    San Diego’s plant is 1 billion. The US spends 35 billion alone per year on it’s nuke program. We have money, its the priority that could be questioned.

  5. davy on Sat, 20th Jun 2015 6:21 am 

    Yea, it is funny Boat when one implies a technology is an answer and when call out on it backtracks. That’s what I love about the corns the hilarious positions they have to maintain.

    It like lying the hardest part of lying is remembering all the lies and the lies that support lies. It is so much easier embracing reality and admit to limits and diminishing returns to all those transcendental technologies you corns love to crow about. Just get real Boat and you will feel much better.

  6. Boat on Sat, 20th Jun 2015 6:41 am 

    I don’t see any back track in my answer. I also don’t have much sway as to what any city does or the government except an occasional vote. I don’t claim you lie because I disagree with collapse in the near term and will leave it at that.

  7. Rodster on Sat, 20th Jun 2015 7:34 am 

    “Decades ago James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis came up with the “Gaia” hypothesis that the earth itself was alive in some sense,”

    Later on, James Lovelock backed off the Gaia theory and said he got it wrong.

  8. Davy on Sat, 20th Jun 2015 7:54 am 

    Boat, I don’t see any accusations of lying in my answer. I provided a general observation of the standard cornucopian argumentative tool you employed of providing technological examples, econ 101 theory, efficiency, and or substitution to a problem or predicament. This resembles lying because it is often a vicious circle of the negatives of supportability, scalability, and economically unfeasibility. It is often sounds good until it all connected together dot by dot. It eventually starts to look ridiculous and like fantasy. The more fantastic the story the more the corns like it.

  9. ted on Sat, 20th Jun 2015 8:01 am 

    Never heard of this rag. Pissing in the wind

  10. Kenz300 on Sat, 20th Jun 2015 8:46 am 

    Climate Change is real….. we need to deal with the cause or we will deal with the impact………

    It is time to stop building any more coal fired power plants and begin shutting down the oldest ones.

    We need to speed up the transition to safer, cleaner and cheaper wind and solar energy solutions.

    Pope Francis, in Sweeping Encyclical, Calls for Swift Action on Climate Change – The New York Times

  11. shortonoil on Sat, 20th Jun 2015 10:53 am 

    “Later on, James Lovelock backed off the Gaia theory and said he got it wrong.”

    I followed Lovelock through his books, articles, and lectures for decades, and I never ran into an instance where he admitted he was wrong about Gaia? I always hoped that I would run into him so I could ask him one question, “Is Earth a sentient organism”?

    Planetary science admits that earth has been a self regulating system for over 500 million years. There are many unanswered questions, such as, even though all the rivers of the world run into the oceans bring salt deposits with them, the salinity of the world’s oceans has not changed in 1/2 a billion years. Even though the earth as moved further and further from the sun, its temperatures have managed to remain in a narrow band conducive to life for 1/2 a billion years. There are many, many more.

    The question is could that have happened without some intelligent control? Seems doubtful. If you ask the Wiccan’s they will tell you that god is not some being that comes down from the shy; they will tell you that She is under your feet.

  12. joe on Sat, 20th Jun 2015 10:57 am 

    She’s got a serious cold at the moment caused by 7 billion bugs crawling around on her. She might even die from it, and their isn’t a stellar antibiotic, unless she knows Galactus or Unicron or something.

  13. jjhman on Sat, 20th Jun 2015 11:19 am 

    First I’d like to advise all of you who enjoy bashing California and all of us who live here to keep up the good work. We don’t want you here.

    Now to add some actual data to fire up the mindless babble:.

    -About 80% of water use in CA goes to agriculture in the central valley.

    -Agriculture represents about 3% of the CA economy and probably an even smaller portion of the population.

    -10% of total water consumption in CA goes to Almonds, most of which are exported.

    -15% of CA water goes to alfalfa which either foes to dairy cows or is exported.

    -30% of CA water goes directly or indirectly to raising animals.

    -40% of produce grown in Monterey county (largest producer county of vegetables in the US)is trashed in the field for cosmetic defects and sent to a landfill.

  14. GregT on Sat, 20th Jun 2015 11:23 am 

    an organism that lives in or on another organism (its host) and benefits by deriving nutrients at the host’s expense.

  15. shortonoil on Sat, 20th Jun 2015 11:32 am 

    “She’s got a serious cold at the moment caused by 7 billion bugs crawling around on her. She might even die from it, and their isn’t a stellar antibiotic, unless she knows Galactus or Unicron or something.”

    She only needs to get rid of 3 or 4 billion of them to solve that problem. She can do that with a fly swatter!

  16. GregT on Sat, 20th Jun 2015 11:39 am 

    First I’d like to advise YOU jjhman who thinks that others enjoy bashing California, we don’t. California produces a good percentage of our produce, and without that produce our grocery bills have already begun to skyrocket. That, and when the Californian economy collapses, the repercussions will be felt far and wide.

    This is not a technological problem, it is an environmental problem. That environmental problem is going to continue to get worse, and grow much larger in area, if we don’t stop burning fossil fuels.

  17. shortonoil on Sat, 20th Jun 2015 11:39 am 

    “First I’d like to advise all of you who enjoy bashing California and all of us who live here to keep up the good work. We don’t want you here.”

    “A few million may leave everything behind, and escape. Most will wait for the “they” to rescue them. A “they” that for them will no longer exist.”

  18. Apneaman on Sat, 20th Jun 2015 11:45 am 

    The reason Lovelock’s Gaia hypothesis is so popular with the apes is because it plays to their unconscious needs to anthropomorphize everything and have an eternal parent figure looking out for them. Personally, I think it’s all woo woo, but that might be cause I’m a totally Medea hypothesis kinda a guy.

  19. Rodster on Sat, 20th Jun 2015 12:13 pm 

    “I followed Lovelock through his books, articles, and lectures for decades, and I never ran into an instance where he admitted he was wrong about Gaia?”

    ‘Gaia’ scientist James Lovelock: I was ‘alarmist’ about climate change

    “Lovelock said of the warnings of climate catastrophe in his 2006 book, Revenge of Gaia: “I was a little too certain in that book. You just can’t tell what’s going to happen.”

  20. GregT on Sat, 20th Jun 2015 12:30 pm 

    In his new book Lovelock writes: “We may have wasted valuable time, energy and resources by trying to grapple with climate change on a global scale.”

    “It sounds good to try to save the planet, but in reality we are not thinking of saving Gaia, we are thinking of saving Earth for us, or for our nation.

    “The idea of ‘saving the planet’ is a foolish extravagance of romantic Northern ideologues and probably much beyond our ability.”

    “In a changing climate cities are most less vulnerable to external heat than our individuals. If most of us lived in cities, as it seems we soon will do, the regulation of the climate of these cities might be far easier, more economic and safer option in a hot climate than the regulation by geoengineering of the whole planet. “

    He also claimed that life on Earth could move away from organic creatures towards computerised life-forms

    “I think like all organisms on Earth our species has a limited lifespan,” he said.

    “If we can somehow merge with our electronic creations in a larger scale endosymbiosis, it may provide a better next step in the evolution of humanity and Gaia.”

  21. Apneaman on Sat, 20th Jun 2015 2:02 pm 

    Rodster, since that 2012 interview a lot has happened. Too much to list, but most significant, 2014 was the warmest global temps on record and 2015 looks like it will blow last year out of the water.

  22. Apneaman on Sat, 20th Jun 2015 3:08 pm 

    Severe drought moving into Western Oregon

  23. Rodster on Sat, 20th Jun 2015 3:39 pm 

    “Rodster, since that 2012 interview a lot has happened. Too much to list, but most significant, 2014 was the warmest global temps on record and 2015 looks like it will blow last year out of the water.”

    I have seen some of the effects already as I mentioned Miami Beach and St Augustine Florida.

    What troubles me and it’s becoming a trend is that the climate scientist and experts keep moving the line in the sand. What used to be a bad number is now acceptable. They need to be more consistent.

  24. Apneaman on Sat, 20th Jun 2015 5:32 pm 

    Lovelock is not a climate scientist. Many in the scientific community are highly critical of his ideas and some even consider him a kook. It’s the media that made him; like Hawking. As for moving the goal posts, most of what I see regarding that is on the policy end and media or often from engineers and economist people. I cannot recall any comments by climate scientists claiming we are in anything other than a dire situation. We are talking thousands of people in dozens of countries, so I guess it’s possible. I think, as you have pointed out, that what we can see with our own eyes and easily measure with all our instruments says it all. Have you ever seen this site with letters written by climate scientists from a personal view?

  25. Apneaman on Sat, 20th Jun 2015 5:43 pm 

    Nony-marm say’s not to worry – the price system will figure it all out.

    Destructive southern pine beetle appears in northeast states

    “The only thing that would allow them to move up the coast was the climate,” said Lisa Filippi, a biology professor at Hofstra University in Hempstead. “A very slight change in climate can cause a huge change in the life cycle of insects.”

  26. Apneaman on Sat, 20th Jun 2015 8:33 pm 

    Bare Slopes Leave Chile Ski Resorts Feeling Like California

    “In all my years here, the snow has never taken so long to arrive or the season so long to start,” Haydee said as she stood in the deserted restaurant.

    Santiago, which sits below the ski resorts, has seen just 1.2 centimeters of rain this year, 86 percent less than normal, and there is none forecast for at least another seven days.”

  27. hiruitnguyse on Sat, 20th Jun 2015 8:36 pm 

    This one on Bees:

  28. theedrich on Sat, 20th Jun 2015 8:59 pm 

    If Rupert Sheldrake’s theory of morphic resonance ( has any validity to it, then Lovelock’s Gaia hypothesis may be a lot truer than many materialists suspect.  One of our many problems is the 19th-century mechanistic view that has gripped Official Science (with its government money) for so long.  The caution expresed by the Club of Rome, Tainter and many others has been cast to the wind.  So-called “unintended consequences,” social or natural, may be part of a pre-programmed Gaian survival drive which eliminates most species in order to keep evolution within certain bounds, and to keep Earth from turning into another Mars.  Of course, Christianity-based ethics (now adopted by Western atheists as well) cannot comprehend this.  Hence BAU.  In any case, the modern faith in Science with its latest cellphones and killer apps is not going to stop us from sawing off the branch we are sitting on.

  29. Apneaman on Sat, 20th Jun 2015 9:31 pm 

    Lake Mead watch: six inches from the level that triggers cutbacks
    If water curtailments go into effect, which states are most vulnerable, and why?

  30. Apneaman on Sat, 20th Jun 2015 9:34 pm 

    Medea hypothesis

    The Medea hypothesis is a term coined by paleontologist Peter Ward[1] for the anti-Gaian hypothesis that multicellular life, understood as a superorganism, is suicidal; in this view, microbial-triggered mass extinctions are attempts to return the Earth to the microbial-dominated state it has been for most of its history.[2][3][4] It is named after the mythological Medea, who killed her own children. Medea represents the Earth, and her children are multicellular life.

    Past “suicide attempts” include:

    Methane poisoning, 3.5 billion years ago
    The oxygen catastrophe, 2.7 billion years ago
    Snowball earth, twice, 2.3 billion years ago and 790–630 million years ago
    At least five putative hydrogen sulfide-induced mass extinctions, such as the Great Dying, 252.28 million years ago

    The list does not include the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event, since this was, at least partially, externally induced by a meteor impact.

  31. Kenz300 on Sun, 21st Jun 2015 10:35 am 

    We can deal with the cause of Climate Change or we will deal with the impact…….

    It is time to speed up the transition to safer, cleaner and cheaper alternative energy sources.

    Time to divest from fossil fuels for the future of the planet.

    For Faithful, Social Justice Goals Demand Action on Environment – The New York Times

  32. animus on Sun, 21st Jun 2015 11:21 am 

    Did you know? Upper layers of James Bay are very low salinity (low tides, slow currents, large rivers flowing in. So damn its neck, pipe the water south to the Great Lakes, then on to the drought lands. BUT, where’s the capital coming from in a nation that is essentially bankrupt from the “greatest misallocation of our [capital] resources in history”? So, no hope!

  33. Kenz300 on Mon, 22nd Jun 2015 7:19 am 

    Too many people and too few resources…… yet the world add 80 million more people to feed, clothe and provide energy and WATER for every year.

    Birth Control Permanent Methods: Learn About Effectiveness

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