Being on the East Coast and dealing with the current allergy season makes it hard to think about the state of emergency that our agricultural giant, California, is currently faced with. Although this drought has been looming for that past 3 years, it is now that it has reached epic proportions of dryness in California. The current condition have worsened so much that More than 80 percent of the state is in extreme or exceptional drought, according to the United States Drought Monitor. Scientists believe that the ridge is to blame for this extreme dryness. Storm that would usually make their way into California have been sent off to the Alaskan handle instead of breaking land in CA.
The immediate consequences to this lack of water are suffered, firstly, by the farmers in California. Since the state is mostly dry they do not have access to the amount of water their crops need to grow which means that only 5% of the irrigated crops that are usually planted in California will not be planted this year. I know what you’re thinking ‘I’m a mid level accountant in NYC why does this affect me?” Well, if you like affordable fruits and vegetables you should probably take the time to research how it will affect the prices of the food you like to eat. We have already seen a rise in prices of certain food items this year with peppers, berries, packaged salads and melons rose to well over $1.50. The USDA reported seeing a spike of veal and beef prices of 12.1% in 2014 and these prices are still expected to rise 6% over average this year; vegetable may rise 3% while we have seen the price of leafy greens rise 1.9%. This will affect the entire country for as long as California stays the leading supplier of food in the US to the US.
While perambulating on this drought situation I could not help but think ‘what about the wine’? DOnt worry my fellow wine enthusiasts, the wine can only get… better? According to the Wine Institute, “Yes, drought years tend to produce terrific quality, With the record high California wine grape harvests in 2012, 2013 and 2014, there is a good supply of California wine.” This might be the only positive outcome to this drought. I know my evening sure think so.
There is currently an El Nino making its way through Texas and the Southern Plains of California. Southern California has already seen drenching rain. Weather analysts are not hopeful that it will end the drought as evaporation rates will likely surpass rainfall rates, but at least it gives hope.
At least we can cheer to a hopeful future.
This article was written by Jaine Roa, a writer for dusk magazine.