California Water Debate Heats Up

According to recent reports by environmental groups and scientific organizations, world water supplies are gradually drying up, increasing the risk of global droughts. Recent satellite observations by groups like NASA have demonstrated that water deposits across the globe are shrinking, leading many environmental organizations to reconsider current agricultural practices.

California environmentalists are playing up these recent developments in their campaign to reform agricultural and environmental practices in the state. The struggle over water rights in California is not entirely about water scarcity. According to current estimates, the state has more than enough water to water crops and people, thanks to aqua-engineering projects in the state. The water debate, however, comes from groups concerned with the diversion of water into more arid regions in western California.

Since the 1960s on, western California, long a sparsely populated desert, has become much more developed. In particular, agricultural engineering projects have helped make the soil remarkably fertile and efforts to divert state water resources into these western regions have helped make it an agricultural powerhouse.

Environmental groups have long charged that this diversion of water resources is detrimental to many wildlife species throughout the eastern seaboard. In addition, many organizations are concerned that long-term diversion of water resources could drain California aquifers, fears that appear to be being realized according to NASA studies.

While both environmental and agricultural groups fight out the ultimate fate of water resources in court, the debate highlights the precarious future of American agriculture. Current agricultural practices need to be reformed in order to guarantee a long-term and sustainable future.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer