It has also exacerbated the slow-moving natural disaster already punishing the West: the drought.
Late last week, Gov. Gavin Newson formally urged all Californians to reduce their water use by 15 percent. It’s not a mandate, but it underscores the harsh new reality we’re facing.
Even though residents and big urban water agencies got much better at cutting water use during the last major drought, from 2012 to 2016, the situation now is dire enough to warrant such a broad plea.
Newsom also expanded the state’s drought emergency so that it encompasses 50 of the state’s 58 counties, including Santa Clara, which is the most populous county in the Bay Area.
The drought is pummeling many of California’s varied agricultural industries particularly hard, as farmers and ranchers contemplate a future without — or with much less — water.
And it’s forcing difficult choices about the most efficient uses of a precious resource.
Like all the rest of California’s thorny problems, which crops to grow and how much of them should be planted is a shifting puzzle unfurled across millions of acres.