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California is facing one of the worst droughts the state has ever seen…. it is not the first drought, but based on the water levels (and projected water levels) the state is in dire need of water and water conservation. Governor Brown and the California legislature recently enacted water rationing measures trying to prolong the use of the state reservoirs that have extremely low water levels. The restrictions went so far as to restrict Californians to 4 minute showers… but they failed to address agriculture and the excessive amount of water modern farming practices use. I wont get into the poor farming practices used currently (but if you know anything about sustainable agriculture, modern farming is far from it) nor talk about the lobbying effort to leave agribusiness out of the water restrictions. Quite frankly, I partially understand the decision not to restrict agriculture…we all need food to eat, and an alarmingly large amount of food comes from California. As examples, 91% of all grapes, 92% of all almonds, and 90% of all tomatoes consumed in the US come from California… and the water consumption for each is staggering (.3 gallons per grape, 1.1 gallons per almond and a staggering 3.3 gallons per tomato)…. and these are just several crops. Projections say California has one year of water left at current consumptions rates… so the situation is serious and requires some serious measures (from everyone). Since the enacted measures put zero restrictions on agriculture, the burden falls primarily on the regular citizen. So, whether we live in California or not, how does this effect us and what do we do?

Water… stock up on it. We should all be storing water, but its especially important for those living in the drought area. Since you are restricted to a 4 minute shower every day, try cutting that in half… either to 2 minutes (yes it can be done) or every other day and store the water you would have used in water jugs which can be purchased from walmart or on amazon. Install a rain barrel. Many municipalities have enacted ordinances against storing rain water but despite the water situation in California, there is a state law allowing home owners to catch rain water in barrels for gardening and landscaping. Granted the state has limited rainfall currently but installing rain barrels on every gutter/downspout will help save what precious water does fall. This water can be used for gardens, pets/livestock, or filtering for potable water use. Store as much water as you can.

Food… stock up on it. If the drought continues into 2016, the US faces a serious shortfall of food and at best, food prices will skyrocket… at worst, we may be faced with food shortages. As preppers we should all be stocking up on food, and this drought is a prime example of why. In the context of this drought, think of your preps one of two ways… if we have food shortages, your preps will carry you through a tough time… and if we have skyrocketing food costs, your preps are a hedge against cost increases.

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There is no end in sight for this. The winter snows that were expected to replenish the reservoirs didn’t fall at normal levels. If things get worse, a four minute shower will seem like a luxury. Keep in mind this problem is not just California… so moving out of the effected drought area will not make things better long term. The western drought is going to effect all of us if water conservation efforts don’t work and if rain doesn’t start to fall. Also keep in mind, this is not the only area suffering from a drought…. drought conditions exist sporadically nationwide (although California is seeing the worst of it as you can see from the map).  An an example, the south west of the US is severely over populated (compared to the carrying capacity of the land)… the picture below is a recent view of Lake Mead which is down almost 150 feet from capacity and that translates to billions of gallons of water. Take steps now to ensure you are protected at least marginally from drought conditions,   regardless of where you live

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