Vivid article on water problems in California's Central Valley
NBC. Lots of good quotes:
“To shower, I use a cup, just like when I was in ‘Nam,” he said, stepping away from a stream of glistening neighbors, most of them just back from the fields. Some had dust on their ear lobes and deep in their wrinkles. None had a simple way to shower in town that night.
“We’re living in a third world country now,” he continued.
“Sometimes I pull over at a gas station and go into the bathroom, just to wet my hair down,” admitted Becky, a school bus driver. “I feel like a homeless person.”
Or, the reporter:
In the absence of a bailout, some people are trying to take care of themselves.
Soon, the Patchecos will be, too. They’re not planning to be like the Chavez family, struggling through an unnecessarily hardscrabble retirement. They don’t want to live “Mexico-style.”
“Everything was so nice,” admitted Maria. But not anymore. “California is going dry.”
I don't know if we can predict long-term drought at the county level. But for years, the ridiculousness of American water policy has been clear: All you had to do was take a plane over the Southwest. Miles and miles and mikes of desert, and then a few tens of miles of lawns and trees and golf-courses, and then desert again. We built cities where they were not meant to be, and the water -- absent massive lifestyle changes, that capture every drop, like Dune -- to support them is no longer there. Bottled water (from Poland Springs, Maine?) won't be enough for long. And fracking doesn't help.