How could the California drought impact Canada?
Published Friday, June 19, 2015 11:44AM EDT
Parched farmer’s fields in California could mean a spike in fresh produce prices for Canadians, even as experts warn that the world’s water supply is drying up.
Water policy expert Dustin Garrick says Canadians are directly linked to drought-stricken California by the vast quantities of produce we import from that state, such as oranges and strawberries.
“We are already connected to the California drought,” Garrick told CTV News Channel on Friday. He said Canada imports about $3 billion in produce from California every year, and that price tag could go up if the drought continues.
Garrick, a political science professor at McMaster University, says the current drought in California could become “the new normal.” The state is now implementing as many ideas as possible to address the shortage.
Earlier this week, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California published a study indicating that one-third of the world’s groundwater reservoirs are being depleted faster than they are being replenished. The study found that a number of vitally important drinking water sources are not filling up fast enough to meet demand, and with no way of measuring how deep those reservoirs are, the tap could run dry at any time.
Garrick says the NASA study is a “call to action but not to panic.” However, he also suggested that droughts and water shortages could become a more frequent problem as the global population continues to burn through its water resources.
“We’re withdrawing water faster than it’s being replenished,” he said. “It’s like spending money faster than you make it, without knowing if you have $10 or $10,000 left in the account.”
He said there’s no “silver bullet” for addressing water shortages. Instead, problem areas such as California must use all the strategies they can to conserve water.
Most towns and cities draw their water from reservoirs deep underground, where rainwater collects after it has filtered down through many layers of rock and soil.