VIDEO – The stunning images of drought in California

UNITED STATES – Faced with a chronic drought, particularly early this year, the US state is facing an unprecedented water shortage.

Summer has barely started when the western United States is already feeling the brunt of a chronic drought, made even worse by climate change. Almost the entire territory (93%) is now affected by drought, with temperatures which could in places be around 50 ° C. Unheard of, according to this Californian family met on the shores of a lake. The water level should be 20 meters higher. To bathe, they had to venture further than usual. “Here, normally, we’d be underwater. We’ve never been able to go this far before. My God, that’s crazy!”, she is alarmed in the TF1 report at the top of this article, pointing to the line of vegetation which overhangs the edges of the lake.

One example among others. Across all of California, 1,500 tanks like this are half full. After a year that is too hot, too dry, water, already scarce, evaporates at full speed. The lakes shrink and the riverbeds are exposed. The situation is equally worrying in northern California, which is generally well watered during winter and spring. The state’s second largest reservoir, Lake Oroville, which provides drinking water to 27 million Californians, is fifty meters lower than in 2019.

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The only thing we can do is not to crash anything. A third of my land is empty – Jo Del Bosque, a Californian farmer

And yet, this water, California needs it, in particular to water its cultures. 80% of the almonds sold in the world grow here. But almond trees are greedy. Too greedy, in any case, to withstand the effects of the drought. It takes four liters of water for a single fine so the math is quick. Forced, farmers uproot their own plantations before reducing them to catfish.

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In the Tulare Valley, in the heart of California, two-thirds of the fruit of the United States is produced. Jo Del Bosque has been cultivating melons there for over thirty years. There have been periods of drought, but never so early in the year. “The only thing we can do is not plant anything. A third of my land is empty.”, he explains. An economic disaster announced for him. “There will be no harvest or work for the workers”, he adds. Farmers are the first to suffer from water restrictions. But this crisis is now affecting all of California. Even the cities are worried.

Read also

  • Drought will be “the next pandemic”, worries UN
  • Drought in California: the astonishing rescue operation of the salmon

Direction San Francisco, one of the richest metropolises in America. In a chic suburb, on this day, kits are distributed to the population to save water at home. “There are more economical tips for garden hoses, a faucet aerator, stopwatches for the duration of the shower and a water leak detector.”, lists a woman in charge of distribution. Everyone gets their kit directly from their car, in “driving” mode. In this county, residents are required to reduce their water consumption by at least 40%.

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