Happy summer time everybody! I hope you are faring well through the summer heat. “Farmer Tony” here, just checking in to blog about something that has been crossing my mind inside the “parade” that marches thru my brain periodically. First, let’s talk about the heat. Yes, it’s been hot here in the San Joaquin Valley, but not just your ordinary early summer 95.F heat. No sir, we just finished “stringing together” several days (weeks actually) of temperatures well into the 100’s! Sure, I know I’m not farming oranges in Phoenix, Arizona or Las Vegas, Nevada where it seems 100 degree weather starts in April and ends in October, but for us here, it’s been hot! And with the hot weather brings the need of more and more water in an area where once it used to be plentiful, and now…not so much. The ongoing drought has hit our area of California especially hard. And when I say hard, I’m talking about an old fashioned Mike Tyson, right hook to the jaw kinda’ hard. Where, when you are finally able to pick yourself up off the canvass, you look around and ask, “what the hell just happened?” Well, here we are making our way through Summer 2015, and at last check, according to a local news paper, water wells in the county where we farm, is experiencing 20 (count them), TWENTY well failures per WEEK! Need to drill a new well? Hope you have several thousands of dollars stashed away and are able to wait up to a YEAR before a well driller can get to you. And here’s the “punch line”, wait for it…the well driller will only guarantee you a hole in the ground, but can’t guarantee you that there will be any water at the bottom of that hole! This is by no means an exaggeration. This is truth, a sad and very scary truth that people around here are living with. On the east side of our city, some people on domestic wells have been out of water for now their second summer. Emergency showers have been set up near a local church and water is being trucked in to help. Many people resort to the laundromat or the kindness of relatives and friends to do laundry. If you have an evaporative (swamp) cooler in your home, but no water to wet the cooler pads, you can forget about staying cool in the 100 degree heat. Hot air blowing down on you is not how they were designed to work! Yup, it’s that bad for some people suffering through the drought. And for some farmers…it gets worse. You can see some areas where the trees are either drying up or are dead from no water. In some cases the wells are dry, and in others the thought of buying district irrigation water is just too expensive. So, what to do? Most people are finally doing the right thing by conserving water, which is a nice idea, but it won’t bring the water back to the reservoirs or the underground aquifers. Now what? There is the hope of an “El Niño” season on the horizon which could help, but as we have seen in the past, there is no such thing as a “sure thing”. Well, I suppose there is one “sure thing”, and that thing would be to say that I am not smart enough to figure out how to fix the water problem for the entire western states region.
I believe that somebody, somewhere has an answer. They have to. This is the year 2015, and things like space travel, smart phones, hybrid cars and the internet are now part of our everyday lives! OK, so maybe I have given up on the flying cars for now, but seems to me that someone on this planet is indeed smart and creative enough to figure out how to get us out of the water crisis here in the west. Recently when Texas was flooding from too much rain, a “facebook friend” from Texas wrote, “too bad we can’t send some of this water your way”, which lead me to think…”yeah, why couldn’t we move some of the extra water from Texas back towards California?” Seems odd that we first sent men to the Moon some 50 years ago, and now people live in space on the International Space Station for extended periods of time, heck we’re even toying with the idea of going to Mars; but moving water from three states away in a timely manner…”No!” “That’s unheard of!” “Impossible!” “It’s Witchcraft!” What’s wrong with us? Why don’t we have a creative “get it done” kind of genius ala Steve Jobs or Bill Gates in the “move water to people who need it” department? Or why don’t we get a Steven Hawking type mind working on this problem? I just don’t get it. Why do we live in a world where Kim Kardashian is a celebrity for some reason, well, actually NO reason, however, we can’t seem to find someone who could really make an appreciable difference to the world and then treat them like a “rock star”. That would make more sense to me. When it comes to the water crisis here in the west, I kind of feel like angry comedian Lewis Black and his answer to the “ozone hole” in our atmosphere. He said…”we have men, we have rockets, we have duct tape…FIX IT!!!”
Until we have an answer… just keep praying for rain.
Thanks for reading, I’ll see you in the groves.