Pacific Swell

Southern California environment news and trends

California Drought News: Oregon's big move on our Salad Bowl

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Food for thought:

  • As food production in the California Salad Bowl withers, growers in Oregon are seeing more business come their way. Many are jumping at the chance:
That means there is a great opportunity to supply a need to grocery markets. “Growers can take advantage of the crops that can be grown here that they won’t grow there,” Penhallegon said. “This would be the year to increase production. (Farmers) just need to find out what is lacking. Lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers; there is an open door there.” (Corvallis Gazette-Times)
  • Are you enjoying cherry season? Have you noticed how expensive they are? That may be because the harvest is down 75 percent this year. It's because of warm days in the winter. (Capital Public Radio)

Water fight:

  • The Wall Street Journal looks at the fines and citations that more California cities are using to get people to save water. Sacramento is one of the most aggressive when it comes to policing, but it kind of has to be:
This year, the city cut outdoor watering to three days a week from two. Because only about half its homes have water meters to measure use, Sacramento must rely on inspectors to help enforce the rules. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Today's other fight is over those well-drilling men. Everyone wants a piece of these guys. All these new wells and shrinking aquifers puts me in mind of "There Will Be Blood." Perhaps a effective ad campaign would feature Daniel Day-Lewis yelling, "I ... drink ... your ... MILKSHAKE!"
We're on a one-way trajectory toward depletion, toward running out of groundwater, says Jay Famiglietti, a University of California hydrologist and a leading expert on groundwater. He points out that California is the only Western state that doesn't really monitor or regulate how much groundwater is pumped.

So it's not unlike having several straws in a glass, and everyone drinking at the same time, and no one really watching the level, Famiglietti says. (NPR)


  • Here and Now has an interesting story (also interesting sounding - think Radiolab) on the science of stopping water loss from evaporation. Apparently, reservoirs can lose just as much water to evaporation as it does to use. (Here & Now)

How has your community been affected by the drought? Share your story with a photo on Twitter or Instagram. Tag it #mydrought. For more details on our photo project, click here.

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