According to Victor Hansen, a historian at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University (SU), the California drought is caused by nature and man.
Tom Vilsack, secretary of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), told the press that his agency will begin setting up climate hubs in the nation’s rural areas as a scheme to broaden the government’s agenda in “developing the next generation of climate solutions.”
These hubs will be located in:
• New Hampshire
• North Carolina
• New Mexico
Vilsack said that the government hubs will “be partnering with land grant universities, the private sector and other sister federal agencies to really look at how we can strengthen and maintain agriculture production in the face of changing climate, how we can continue to better manage our natural resources and promote the economic opportunity they create.”
Through research, these hubs will “provide guidance, practical technologies that will work to allow folks to adapt or mitigate the impacts of changing climate, in the hopes of being able to preserve both the production, as well as the greenhouse gas carbon-sinking capacity of our growing lands.”
In Willits, California, the city council is concerned because record lows in the water table are unprecedented.
The California Department of Public Health have issued warnings to rural areas like Willits that the drought emergency is dire; while simultaneously cancelling water deliveries beginning in a few months.
This action will seriously compromise farms and cities that have shutdown public access to local streams to protect aquatic wildlife.
The dire situation has become a political tool as Republicans and Democrats battle it out over proposed bills and Californian’s water supplies continue to dwindle.
The Bureau of Reclamation and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (BRNRCS) has invested $14 million to fund “water districts and associated growers to conserve water and improve water management as part of an effort to ease their impact of the drought on California.”
One report from the Ceres Investor Network (CIN) concludes that those areas identified as having a severe shortage of water happen to also be regions “heavily targeted for oil and gas development using hydraulic fracturing.”
The corporations responsible for these conditions include:
• Anadarko Petroleum
• Chesapeake Energy
• Baker Hughes
According to the report:
- The Eagle Ford in south Texas faces some of the biggest water challenges of any shale play. Hydraulic fracturing water use was the highest in the country at 19.2 billion gallons.
- The Permian Basin faces significant water demand pressures, drought concerns and high groundwater use and stress. More than 70% of the Permian’s wells are in extreme water stress areas and the basin overlaps parts of the depleted Ogallala aquifer.
- 100% of all wells hydraulically fractured in the DJ Basin were in high or extremely high water stress areas.
- The Marcellus was the second highest water use play behind Eagle Ford, using over 13.5 billion gallons of water. Average water use per well is relatively high, at about 4.4 million gallons.
- Nearly all hydraulic fracturing water use in California is in regions of extremely high water stress, although water use per well remains relatively low.