California Drought Drags, Water Dwindles

May 3, 2022

David Alvarez Velicia / Getty Images

This year is shaping up to be the driest California has ever seen, with records dating back to 1895. Entering the third year of *severe* drought, today’s megadrought conditions (aka: low to no precipitation and higher temperatures) show no signs of subsiding.

And although drought has (unfortunately) been a repeat topic here lately in Magnetic, there’s no understating how hard it’s hitting California right now.

California dreamin’ nightmare. Water supplies are on the brink. Six million residents near L.A. will restrict outdoor watering to one day per week beginning June 1—an unprecedented measure. San Joaquin Valley growers are leaving acres unplanted because they can’t get water. Both parties rely on water from the Central Valley Project

Soundbite: “The reality is, this drought has left us without the water supply we need to meet normal demands in these areas. To make sure we have enough water for basic human health and safety needs, everyone in these communities must immediately and dramatically reduce their water use,” said Adel Hagekhalil, GM of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.

Feeling the burn. With food prices already sky-high, plus the war in Ukraine, high commodity prices, and even peak avocado prices, the drought is adding fuel to the fire for frustrated consumers. Mike Wade, of the pro-agriculture California Farm Water Coalition said “higher prices and fewer choices” is the reality. Without sufficient water, producers are cutting back on what they grow, and some are exiting agriculture completely. 

The damage. We’re looking at a $3B negative economic hit from this year’s drought in California. Crops like peaches, plums, nectarines, almonds, and pistachios will be hit the hardest.