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California’s Water Crisis – Get Out While You Can

California’s Water Crisis – Get Out While You Can thumbnail

Groundwater records should not be kept confidential in drought-stricken California

Imagine having two bank accounts with money for your everyday needs, only one of them – the one you draw from when the primary account runs low – is a virtual black box. You really have no idea what the balance is, and there is no record of deposits and withdrawals.

This is how water is managed in California, with 38mn people and the world’s eighth largest economy. In years of “normal” precipitation, the semi-arid state gets most of its water supply from winter rain and spring snowmelt. However, when this “primary account” of surface water supply dwindles during droughts, farms and communities rely heavily on a mystery account called groundwater, which truly is out of sight and, unfortunately, out of mind.

Few people have information about the underground stores that provide up to 60% of the state’s water supply during droughts, including water to about 600,000 relatively shallow domestic wells, located mostly in rural areas.

State records that provide information needed to characterize groundwater aquifers are kept confidential under a 64-year-old law that considers them proprietary to well drillers. Known as well logs, the records contain data that is public in every other western state – details such as where wells are located, their depth, potential pumping rates, diameter and descriptions of the groundwater-bearing sediments and rocks they are bored through…”

Get out of California while you still can! It will be America’s first “failed State” very, very soon. I am talking to all my CollapseNet friends, family and subscribers here, and I mean every word. Thirty-nine million people surrounded by hundreds of miles of mostly uninhabitable desert…think on that for a while, but not too long. Get your plans in place and put them in action, because this is very real and it is happening right now, albeit in what appears to be slow-motion. That will change faster every week that goes past.

If you live in California, especially in SoCal, you need to pack your shit and move while there are still enough idiots left to buy your property!

I love California, but its fate cannot be more clear. The entire continent and world economy WILL be impacted hard by California’s drawdown (or die-off, if you prefer), but if you live there right now, this is a matter of imminent survival within the coming months.

California will be the world’s most massive demonstration of climate refugees, occurring in the wealthiest and most industrialized nation, but one that STILL HAS NO MEANS to absorb even a significant fraction of the people who are and will be displaced by Liebig’s Law of the Minimum (here, water) from California in the immediate future.

Mother Nature always bats last, hits hardest, and wins.

Anybody have a better plan than to GTFO? Your government doesn’t have one, that’s for certain… – Wes

See also:

California has about one year of water stored. Will you ration now?

The amount of water it takes to grow almonds in California is BANANAS 

Water use in California is a hot topic of debate as the state continues its fourth year of drought.

And there’s some question as to whether California is misallocating the water that it does have.

Here’s a tidbit, from Mother Jones via Marginal Revolution’s Alex Tabarrok:

…agriculture uses 80% of the water in California but accounts for less than 2% of the economy. So how much water does almond production alone use? More water is used in almond production than is used by all the residents and businesses of San Francisco and Los Angeles combined.

It’s important to note that California produces a huge chunk of the produce consumed in the United States. Presumably having food on the table is vastly more important to society than it would seem if you just look at it from a percentage-of-the-economy perspective.

But what about the almonds in particular? It takes a disproportionate amount of water to grow them versus other crops…”

Fuck. Just as we are getting ready to say “goodbye” to the fish, here goes another staple for us folks with food allergies.

Not to mention the gigantic freaking canary that is dead on our living room floor, staring at us with rotting eyes… –

-Wes, CollapseNet

157 Comments on "California’s Water Crisis – Get Out While You Can"

  1. Plantagenet on Sat, 28th Mar 2015 7:43 pm 

    Don’t worry about the drought. Gov. Jerry Brown and Ds in California have diverted the dought relief money to their cronies who are going to build flood control projects instead.

  2. penury on Sat, 28th Mar 2015 8:33 pm 

    Have they banned watering lawns and golf courses yet? How about washing cars? Perhaps someone should do a little study on how much water is wasted on growing things not essential to existence. Sounds harsh I know but the death of several hundred thousand or a million people is also rather harsh.

  3. Cloud9 on Sat, 28th Mar 2015 8:40 pm 

    The hard core socialists may discover a simple truth. There is not enough. Equitable sharing is not possible under those circumstances. Tribalism will come back into its own.

  4. tk on Sat, 28th Mar 2015 8:44 pm 

    @ penury

    “It is Carlifornias God given right to water their lawns.” – Sen. Diane Feinstein

    cited from here:

  5. Davy on Sat, 28th Mar 2015 8:52 pm 

    Pen, AG is the issue. The wasteful lifestyles and bad water attitudes don’t help but AG will need to be the sacred cow taken to slaughter. That sacrifice will affect all Americans and the world. The food market is a global one like oil. We are approaching food insecurity as each one of these mega-negative events multiply. Brazil, China, and multiple other locations are converging in a drag on food productivity as population continues to grow.

  6. Apneaman on Sat, 28th Mar 2015 9:30 pm 

    Drought in São Paulo: Brazil’s Megacity on Verge of Crisis as Water Rationing, Shutoffs Continue

    “The past three months have seen the driest winter in 84 years in southeastern Brazil. Water shortages are now critical in São Paulo, home to twenty million people. The city’s primary reservoir is fluctuating between 6-13% of capacity, and officials are estimating São Paolo’s reserves will last a mere 90 days without additional rainfall. The rainy season, from December through February, is over, and sadly, recent flooding within the city has not raised main reservoir levels, which are located further inland.”

  7. JuanP on Sat, 28th Mar 2015 10:23 pm 

    It might be better for the USA and Brazil if California and Sao Paulo collapsed sooner rather than later. Now the shock would be much easier to absorb than in 5 or 10 years. The same goes for many other places, Miami included.

    I have given up on trying to get people to save water at the community gardens where I do most of my food gardening. People will water trees that are on automatic irrigation systems even after you repeatedly tell them that it is completely unnecessary, the city government asked us not to, and they may shut our water down if we use too much(the city pays the gardens’ water bills). One day the water will be closed off because the city will have no money to pay for stuff like that.

  8. Gil on Sat, 28th Mar 2015 10:48 pm 

    Interesting, several posts suggest this problem is all due to the Democrats in D.C., yet it is the Republicans who are the most adamant deniers of climate change and oppose any efforts to better conserve critical natural resources. Folks, we are all to blame. Pointing fingers and spouting inane simplistic slogans are the responses of non-thinkers. We are all in this together, and we better get our sh– together – now!

  9. Perk Earl on Sat, 28th Mar 2015 11:16 pm 

    I just recently drove down highway 5 through part of CA that is using ground water and I saw this billboard:
    No Water = No Jobs

    And I thought well, what are we suppose to do about it? I mean why tell us? Sometimes it’s a cause people can do something about, but in this case all we can do is wait and see if it rains next rainy season (sept.-Mar.). This rainy season is over. It might sprinkle a bit, but the part of the season that gets heavy rainfall or snowfall is over.

  10. Kenz300 on Sun, 29th Mar 2015 5:55 am 

    Too much water around the world is wasted…….

    The ethics of conservation needs to be embraced by all.

  11. Go Speed Racer on Sun, 29th Mar 2015 6:29 am 

    Everybody should just drink bottled water only, to save the natural aquifers. It’s the right thing to do.

  12. Davy on Sun, 29th Mar 2015 7:00 am 

    Gilly, it is useless evoking the political card because both parties are part of the extend and pretend of BAU. Both parties are part of the graft and lies that permeate government especially at the top where the big money is.

    Climate deniers are no worse than the AGW’ers who claim there is a solution within BAU. I mean what are we gonna do go carbonless with 7BIL people. The AGWer’s only solution is spend money we don’t have to build out a shiny green AltE world. They never talk about the 200MIL year excess deaths over births needed for a generation going carbonless. They talk about all those people that will die in 50 years. Who the frig cares about 50 years? AGWer’s are lying and in denial just as bad. Greenines and brownies are liars and deniers together in their BAUtopianism just different colors.

    Current BAU issues are now not problems they are mega predicament that must be adjusted to and mitigated. Juan is right in saying the sooner these crisis hit critical levels the better. There is still plenty of fruit to be plucked with the long list of bad attitudes and awful lifestyles people participate in for nothing more than thrills.

    We have all the low resilience and poor sustainability practices of the food and energy sectors all the way down to the homes of the end users. Consumerism that is necessary to maintain BAU is killing our souls and polluting our nest. Transport needs to be reduced to vital and much of the remaining liquid fuels should be devoted to emergency services. It is said that a 10% decrease in liquid fuels equates to a 50% decrease in discretionary driving to accommodate emergency services. How about that condition for the central banks. What kind of rabbit in the hat works on that type of economic condition?

    When Water drops enough in these severally affected regions all kinds of rationing and sacrifice will begin. This my friends is what the doctor ordered. This my friends is our only hope. Induced crisis like an induced comma to save the patient. The only problem this induced crisis will only lower the pain, suffering, and death that comes latter regardless of any actions.

    BAU is dead sooner or later. The sooner this BAU dies and the slower we can draw out the worst of the BAU death effects and let us hope the lower will be the suffering. All species have a degree and duration of stress in an overshoot balancing. Shouldn’t we try to mitigate this? Oh, I forgot BAUtopians say we are exceptional and our knowledge of innovative substitutes and technology will continue progress. I wonder what substitute these boys in California and Brazil will come up with for water? BAU = denial

  13. dave on Sun, 29th Mar 2015 7:58 am 

    Plant, with each and every additional post I have to wonder if you originated from the dark side of the moon. Republicans used to get the reasonable connection between the words conservative and conservation. That all disappeared with Ronald Reagan and has never returned. Check out the actions in the Florida legislature of late with regard to land conservation. It’s not much different anywhere in the US. Go back to the dark space please, because today you’re making less sense than usual, if that’s possible.

  14. Tex on Sun, 29th Mar 2015 9:06 am 

    Unfortunately it means those 38 million people are going to have to go somewhere and many of them are going to go to my state of Oregon, which will create another environmental disaster of unimaginable proportions!

  15. Randy on Sun, 29th Mar 2015 9:14 am 

    It’s about time governor Brown got wise and forget about the bullet train to nowhere and use that money to build new sources of water-pipelines, reservoirs, and desalinization plants. We can get by without the bullet train, but water is the most basic resource needed by us-besides air.

  16. Bob Tegir on Sun, 29th Mar 2015 9:15 am 

    California’s problem has nothing to do with ‘climate warming’. Historically, the last 100 years have been the wettest in 1000 years. The normal for CA is much drier. They are going back to normal.

    NO water reservoir has been built there since 1970 yet the population has more than doubled. That’s poor planning but CA is all about NIMBY.

    There is no more water for CA to steal. There is no more water in the rivers to steal. Much of it now flows straight to the ocean to save a fish or two or some minnows.

    They aren’t serious about water rationing. Not the least bit. Here in TX, we still have one day every other week lawn watering. There? any day is fine, and every day is fine. They are a joke.

    Next year at this time, they’ll be water shut offs and towns running dry . Then the fun will begin and of course, it will be 10 years too late to do anything about it.


  17. Steven on Sun, 29th Mar 2015 9:20 am 

    I left San Diego for the Gulf Coast in 2012. Drought/Conservation/Rationing has been talked about for the decade I lived there. Nothing happens, yet the same political structure remains in place.

    We got a rain of about 2 to4 inches of rain last week. Locally, folks complained about the weather, but I just smiled and was thankful.

  18. Dr Z on Sun, 29th Mar 2015 9:24 am 

    We do realize California has suffered mega droughts before industrial civilization? Do we have to pin everything on agw? Look up anasazi. It’d part of some larger cycle were not in control of. The arrogance and hubris of the climate change crowd knows no limits.

    Hey didja hear the UN wants 1.9 trillion per year for 40 years to save the environment? Follow the money!

  19. Scott on Sun, 29th Mar 2015 9:42 am 

    I predict rolling water cutoffs like they do with power. Also the price of water has to be raised to where it hurts to turn on the tap. In Arizona we make do with very little water. It’s amazing how much you can save when you get used to it but it will take water cutoffs and sky high prices before it really sinks in I guess.

  20. steam'n on Sun, 29th Mar 2015 9:47 am 

    one commenter says to drink bottled water instead, to save the aquifers, so ….where do you think the bottled water comes from? they should re-name California to nestles, seeing they’re not helping much.

  21. Thomas on Sun, 29th Mar 2015 9:50 am 

    If you are planning on moving don’t go to Arizona nor Nevada. They are in the same drought crisis as California. Instead move to Oregon and Washington. They will welcome you with open arms.

  22. steam'n on Sun, 29th Mar 2015 9:51 am 

    and yet in some states its illegal to store rainwater coming off your roof to water your garden with. the little bit coming off your roof won’t upset the balance at all.

  23. mKim on Sun, 29th Mar 2015 9:53 am 

    I agree with get the hell out part. I hope more of you leave so I can buy cheap in this paradise. Unlike you chicken littles (like global warming religion), I have plans to deal with water.

    As messed up as the socialist republic of CA is, do you have any idea how economy works? Local (CA) water shortage will fuel jobs and industry to produce and ship water. Think Keystone pipeline, but instead of tar sand, carrying water.

  24. Jake on Sun, 29th Mar 2015 9:55 am 

    This problem has nothing to do with climate change, Sir! It has everything to do with the complete and absurd mismanagement of the resource. Weather in California has changed little of the decades, but people want to live there and the population has exploded. However, not one serious long term plan has been adopted to deal with the rising population and the critical water shortage. Yes Liberals and Socialists are idiots. Move now while you can, but if you’re a Liberal, don’t come to Florida.

  25. JuanP on Sun, 29th Mar 2015 9:57 am 

    It’s all the potheads’ fault for smoking too much Ganja. All the water in California is being used to grow weed according to some US scientists, or so alleges this RT article. It the weed, man, it’s the weed!

  26. jim rapp on Sun, 29th Mar 2015 9:58 am 

    You have missed the most likely scenario as you are not listening to the political discussions. Agriculture water entitlements will be cut and food prices nationwide will go up as a result and we will import more of our food. This will spread California’s woes evenly across the nation. The doomsday predictions don’t square with where the pain will be put… San Joaquin Valley crops will go fallow… Environmental lobbies will have to cave to pressures… Desalination projects in Santa Barbara and Oceanside will accelerate… Its likely that the planned Rosarita Beach deal south of the border happens for San Diego… The Delta desalination projects are slam dunks in the brackish water area. Several new reservoirs and recycling projects are being accelerated. And the idea that we have one year supply left is mis-stated… That’s how much we have left if not a drop of new water flows into the reservoirs…. an unrealistic doomsday assumption. But it is high time to react and that is happening now. The real issue is the environmentalists that will seek to slow the water resolution processes.

  27. steam'n on Sun, 29th Mar 2015 10:02 am 

    guess they’ll just have to bring in water by railroad, warren buffet’s railroad, from nestles water bottling plants, to ca. maybe Monsanto has a chemical you can mix with salt water to make it drinkable

  28. duke on Sun, 29th Mar 2015 10:09 am 

    What do you do with the water from the rains that come every year? when you get a large amount of rain you could capture a portion of it and pump it back up to the reservoirs and fill them up and also build more reservoirs that you can store. Agriculture is needed but conservation of resources and smart planning need to be done also. You can’t grow rice with the tons of water needed but we also don’t want to depend on another nation to supply our food. It is too easy for a nation to be poisoned by imported food rather than use military force to defeat someone. Put flood gates on the LA River and pump as much as possible back upstream. Use the river for something more than a drainage ditch and a place to film movies. Don’t send the people to Oregon because they will cut all the trees down to either build their houses or to have a view of Mt. Hood. then when the rainy season comes they will bitch because they can’t be outside in the sun.

  29. mike on Sun, 29th Mar 2015 10:15 am 

    People will kill for a glass of water one day very soon.they won’t drink it, they will clean their cell phone,tires and water their lawn

  30. ghung on Sun, 29th Mar 2015 10:18 am 

    I won’t call any one person out here, but this thread contains some of the most clueless, deluded comments I’ve seen in a long time.

  31. Davy on Sun, 29th Mar 2015 10:19 am 

    Jake, ok, cool man, tell me how it is gonna be when climate change really kicks in? I believe it is already here so your comment is way off but for sake of argument let’s say it has nothing to do with AGW. So when climate change kicks in we may will still have mismanagement, idiot attitudes, idiot lifestyles, and denial. That is unless Californians wake up and accept the needed remedy of having less with less including far fewer people. California can be the trend setters again but in the direction of poor not rich. Wow, that is gonna be a perfect cocktail of some strong spirits. Long Island Tea anyone because California will have the worst of everything if they don’t wake up and reject hopium of BAUtopianism.

    We are gonna be seeing the reverse migration of the Cali-tribe people into a country with no room for them and especially their spoiled ways. Not that the rest of the country is not messed up but it is California that has had all the money and fun for the last century. They are now going to experience what the Midwest experienced with its rust belt era. Decay, population loss, and localized descent only problem this time for California is with the rest of the country and the globe going into descent. Not a pretty picture shaping up for California and her people.

  32. Fred Drennan on Sun, 29th Mar 2015 10:23 am 

    Desalination plants, water rationing, etc. are all band aid treatments. The drought (climate change) is not a California problem, or a Nevada problem, or Arizona problem. It’s national problem requiring a national solution. The main water distribution center for the southwest is Lake Mead/Lake Powell. Replenishing the nation’s largest water reservoir should be a national priority. Fortunately, 1300 miles east is the fourth largest river in the world. Diverting 10% of the Mississippi is equal to 2 1/2 Colorado Rivers. We built the Erie Canal in 1817 (363 miles) and the Panama Canal in 1904. Currently, the Chinese are using tunnel boring machines 60 feet in diameter under the Yellow Sea for 76 miles! The elevation gain is 600 feet from Cairo, IL (confluence of the Ohio River and Mississippi) to Lake Mead/Lake Powell. The proposed corridor is conducive for wind and solar power to power massive pump stations. The cost would be half of an Iraq or Afghanistan invasion.

  33. Hugh Culliton on Sun, 29th Mar 2015 10:24 am 

    I guess we’d better thicken up our border defences and defend the undefended border from all the climate refugees coming North from the US. In the short term however, I’ll have to expand my garden this spring and get back in the habit of canning my winter veggies. Fortunately for me, where I live in Ontario looks to be well placed to ride out the worst of climate change for the next 3-4 decades at any rate. And everyone laughs at me for prepping for the Zombie Apocalypse! Well, we’ll see who laughs last!

  34. Davy on Sun, 29th Mar 2015 10:32 am 

    Good luck with that Hugh. What do you think we are trying to do with the Mexicans and Latin Americans? What about all you snow birds in the lower 48 are you going to let them back in?

  35. Felix on Sun, 29th Mar 2015 10:36 am 

    A good thought provoking article. I for
    one have let my lawn DIE. I agree about
    gov not doing enough and the bullet train
    is certainly a waste. People should look
    into the gov and climate controls such as
    HAARP and Chem Trailing that you can see
    most EVERY day by looking UP! Go to your
    computer SEARCH and R E A D. our drought
    is very probably CAUSED by gov climate
    controls. Then you’ll have something real to YELL about !

  36. MSN Fanboy on Sun, 29th Mar 2015 10:38 am 

    LOL Stupid Americans. One of you even talks about the creation of a water transportation industry ROLF. Then there is classic climate denial. Fucking Fools. Human ignorance in the face of truth is stunning.

  37. DW Griffing on Sun, 29th Mar 2015 11:04 am 

    Any older Californians that remember what it was like to live there for the two decades immediately following WWll cherish those memories, because it was truly a unique life experience… You really had to live it to understand the reality of it.
    But you can’t drink memories, and it’s not just the water bill that’s coming due either.
    Years of incompetent public management, and the federal government actually encouraging illegal immigration are huge factors in California’s rapid demise.

  38. gary varner on Sun, 29th Mar 2015 11:06 am 

    I lived in California for most of my life. Two years ago we relocated to Kentucky where water is not an issue. I am amazed at how dysfunctional California state government is now. They are sitting on over a billion dollars set aside for water needs and the water resource agency states that it has “no idea what to spend the money on”. California knew this was happening and developed no plans to deal with it? Irresponsible and pathetic.

  39. R. DeGennaro on Sun, 29th Mar 2015 11:15 am 

    I have heard that CA grows a substantial amount of food for our country. The state will just have to pump it in just like the gas companies do with their huge network of pipelines. Who else will grow our food? For coastal areas, they will have to build more desalination plants.

  40. ffkling on Sun, 29th Mar 2015 11:22 am 


    Normally, I agree with enthusiasm your positions, but have to disagree with you that there is no difference between the Dems and Repubs. when it comes to the environment, the parties are on opposite ends. The Repubs. have now entered legislation to repeal The Endangered Species Act, and sell-off to the highest bidder America’s public wildlife areas. If just these two examples do not demonstrate the differences, than what will.

  41. steve wellington on Sun, 29th Mar 2015 11:32 am 

    does any of you even consider prayer as an answer. as they became more liberal and less GOD fearing they became dryer. sometimes you have to trust the CREATOR. well its about too late for that, for the LORD is coming 2015.

  42. peter on Sun, 29th Mar 2015 11:48 am 

    “Get out while you can !”
    Oh so true !! And I, a California native (65), did so 9 months ago and have never looked back. This article is absolutely correct. In fact it doesn’t even list all of the reasons to get out. Not included are;
    a) the soaring crime rate. Most California big cities are gang infested, graffiti covered cess pools.
    b) the ever rising taxes that are crushing the middle class.
    c) the flood of illegals bankrupting the public services. See ‘b’ above.
    d) the precarious economy which is either boom or bust in California.
    Yes, get out while you can !!

  43. Rich Davies on Sun, 29th Mar 2015 11:50 am 

    I agree with the comments above. I have placed two thirty gallon garbage cans under my downspouts for years to water the garden.My lawn is drought resistant native fescue grass. We are running out of water due to serious government mis-management of our resources. Growth-growth-growth with no restrictions, 100’s of golf courses in Palm Springs (dessert) but now the water bank is running dry. There is this thing to the west called the “PACIFIC OCEAN” with trillions of gallons of water waiting to be desalinized for human consumption–“WHY IS THAT NOT HAPPENING”? “STUPID POLITICIANS WITH NO FORESIGHT”!

  44. wayne on Sun, 29th Mar 2015 11:50 am 

    Blame the enviromentalist and Sierra club in Calif. then you can blame the idiots at the dept of water resources and Gov. Moonbeam himself. Calif is broke and has been for years. The Democrats in this state want everything but none want to pay. They love their green orchards, lawns and mountains, clean air and most of all THEIR F’ING REGULATIONS of the nanny state. They love the Calpeirs retirement system that is broke. Let them fail and go bankrupt and save the rest of the USA

  45. johnny utah on Sun, 29th Mar 2015 11:53 am 

    jerry brown who has been governor decades ago was told to invest in desalination plants ,but instead he took the tax payers money and supported 20 million illegal aliens this is the kind of corrupt worthless pieces of krapp we have elected .buying votes by destroying California good job brown the stupid clown .traitor.

  46. PhilC on Sun, 29th Mar 2015 12:05 pm 

    OK, what about going to Washington or Oregon? I looked to find that they, too, are having Drought Problems- are they likely to welcome CA’s water refugees??
    If the Chinese are capable of boring 60-foot dia. tunnels under the Yellow Sea, are we not just as capable of a similar project from the Columbia River (or even the Fraser River, w/Canada’s OK). This might be expensive, but so is relocating CA’s working population and prospering hi-tech industries.

  47. Davy on Sun, 29th Mar 2015 12:05 pm 

    FF, my meaning is only in regards to both parties being involved in the graft, corruption, and lies of the government at the highest levels. The BAUtopian hopium lies are also present in both parties. The something for nothing disposition. The have your cake and eat it mentality.

    I agree with you the Fox News Republicans are anti-Science and pro-manufactured reality of a faux American dream. At least the Democratic party acknowledges Science and not voodoo and other assorted modern witchcraft. I should know my family is right wing conservative. I am a doomer and reject both parties and want nothing to do with either.

  48. Barry drake on Sun, 29th Mar 2015 12:31 pm 

    Not a water problem — it’s a money problem.
    80% of water in California goes to agriculture. only 11% goes to all human use including lawns.
    Alfalfa and almonds alone use more than humans in all their usage.
    Humans can have water but agriculture will have to be reduced and it thus becomes a money problem

  49. bill on Sun, 29th Mar 2015 12:39 pm 

    the western half of Oklahoma is in dire need of water too. It’s always been dry, but now it’s becoming a disaster. Don’t forget the thirsty fracking industry.

  50. leonard cook on Sun, 29th Mar 2015 12:47 pm 

    Now… since a portion of folks are against the oil pipeline. Ok, well then. Why not invest in pipeline for water. Pump it from those area’s where the rainfall is abundance to the drought state’s.

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