Tag Archive for 'food supplies'

Major California Drought Could Spell ‘Catastrophe’ for Nation’s Food Supply

Photo retrieved from: www.commondreams.org

“A major and unyielding drought in California is causing concern in the nation’s “food basket,” as farmers there say the U.S. food supply could be hit hard if the conditions in their state don’t rapidly improve, Al Jazeera America reports Tuesday.

“This is the driest year in 100 years,” grower Joe Del Bosque told Al Jazeera, expressing concern that the hundreds of workers he employs for each year’s harvest could be without a job this season.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, 2013 was the driest on record for most areas of California, “smashing previous record dry years” across the state, including regions where approximately half the fruits, vegetables and nuts in the U.S. are grown.

Those conditions have not relented as 2014 begins with most of the state experiencing official ‘severe’ or ‘extreme drought’ conditions.

And as Al Jazeera reports, reservoirs, which store water that flows from the snow pack in the Sierra Nevada mountains, are at less than 50 percent capacity—20 percent below average for this time of year.

“That’s rather dismal,” said Nancy Vogel, spokeswoman for the California Department of Water Resources. “If we don’t get big storms to build up that snow pack, we can’t expect much in reservoirs.”

Additionally, earlier this month firefighters were forced to Northern California to battle wildfires that were unprecedented for the time of year, and officials are concerned more fires could be on the way.”

Read more: Common Dreams

 

Europe’s dry spring could lead to power blackouts, governments warn

Photo retrieved from: www.guardian.co.uk

“One of the driest springs ever recorded in northern Europe could lead to power blackouts this summer, with nuclear reactors going offline because of low river levels. The exceptionally dry weather will also raisefood prices and has already forced water restrictions on millions of people, say governments, farm groups and meteorological organisations across the continent.

Large parts of southern Britain, northern France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria and other northern and eastern European countries have had their driest three-month spells in more than 50 years, receiving just 25-60% of their long-term average rainfall since February. This has led to parched soils and difficult growing conditions for farmers, as well as to river levels that are dangerously low for wildlife.

Patchy rain has moistened soils in parts of northern Britain, France and Germany over the past few weeks, but with summer approaching and temperatures soaring to over 30C in France, it is not expected that any rains will compensate for months of exceptionally dry weather.

Last week the European Union warned that soils were now “critically dry” in six countries. The French wheat harvest is now expected to be 11.5%-13% down on average despite an increase in the area planted this year and German output is expected to fall 7-9%. In south-east England, many farmers expect crops to fail dramatically unless steady rains come soon.”

Read more: Guardian