Water shortage could mean higher fruit prices nationwide.
Date: March 25, 2015
SHIPPENSBURG- In an LA Times Op-ed NASA senior water scientist Jay Famiglietti stated California only has one year left of water supply storage in reservoirs. California has been plagued by a drought that shows no signs of ending soon.
Shippensburg is no stranger to droughts. In 2001 Pennsylvania experienced its own historic lack of precipitation.
According to water resource management specialist Dr. Christopher Woltemade, Shippensburg University accumulates roughly 40 inches of rain annually. In 2001, a record low 25 inches of rain fell in Shippensburg that year. This is around 15 inches less than expected annually.
The Burd Run watershed located on campus dried up completely.
The winter months from November-February normally produce the bulk of the rainfall California will see throughout the year. January recorded the driest month in California history. The state is now in crisis mode.
The California drought will affect the nation as well. California provides most of the fresh fruit during the winter for the majority of the United States. Agriculture accounts for about 80% of the water usage in California.
“As they have to cut back they’re literally taking thousands of acres out of production, and therefore they are producing less of those foods. With less production it’s going to get more expensive,” Woltemade said.
As the water supply decreases, consumers nationwide can expect to see fruit prices increase as California state officials scramble to find a solution. Residents of California are being asked to conserve water. No state-mandated rations have been implemented yet.
When the drought of 2001 hit Pennsylvania, state officials allocated money to fund the State Water Plan. This plan, released in 2005, displayed water usage within Pennsylvania. It also discussed conservation techniques taken to reverse wasteful trends. The plan lost funding and was never updated after being released.
Dr. Woltemade stated that most water planning is now done on a 50 year horizon. Changes in the climate can often make planning difficult because of the uncertainty of what may happen with the weather in the future.