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UN Report: the World’s Farms Stretched to ‘a Breaking Point’

Almost 10% of the 8 billion people on earth are already undernourished with 3 billion lacking healthy diets, and the land and water resources farmers rely on stressed to “a breaking point.” And by 2050 there will be 2 billion more mouths to feed, warns a new report from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

For now, farmers have been able to boost agricultural productivity by irrigating more land and applying heavier doses of fertilizer and pesticides. But the report says these practices are not sustainable: They have eroded and degraded soil while polluting and depleting water supplies and shrinking the world’s forests.

Record-Setting December Rains Spell Relief for San Diego Area Farmers

San Diego County is in the midst of moderate drought conditions, even after experiencing its 28th-wettest December on record, according to the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS).

For farmers like Charley Wolk in Fallbrook, last month’s rain was money to their ears.

“That December rain was verging on miraculous,” Wolk said.

Opinion: Proposed Ballot Measure Would Create Water Infrastructure

Silicon Valley is known for its startup culture where so-called angel investors provide financing to launch companies that aspire to change the world.

Innovations spawned in Silicon Valley have indeed changed the world, and in the process, made the San Francisco Bay Area home to thousands of near-billionaires and billionaires.

With wealth like that comes social responsibility and political power, and many of the individuals wielding this wealth have stepped up. Powerful individuals from Silicon Valley are changing the destiny of the world.

Drought is Revealing a Human Security Crisis in Farming Communities

Sweeping cutbacks in water allocations to farms are leading to widespread underemployment in some of California’s most vulnerable communities. Lawmakers are scrambling for policy solutions.

The impact to paychecks has been raising food insecurity and malnutrition issues as food prices soar, while the reduced spending is reverberating through local businesses and economies. And the situation is exacerbating a mental health epidemic already made worse by the pandemic.

“Too often, these human impacts are overlooked,” said state Senator Melissa Hurtado of Sanger, in opening a recent hearing for the new Select Committee on Human Security. “We sometimes miss the impacts that drought has on food security, health, labor and the communities themselves.”

Climate Change Resilience Begins With Water, Say These UC AG Researchers

On the rare days it rains in western Fresno County, the soils in Jeffrey Mitchell’s experimental fields soak up the water like a sponge. “The water disappears within less than a minute, even for four inches of water,” he said, laughing.

Mitchell is a cropping systems specialist with the University of California Cooperative Extension. His quick-absorbing soils keep the rainfall from pooling and overflowing, like it does in many surrounding fields.

Dropping Reservoirs Create ‘Green Light’ for Sustainability on Colorado River

Some Colorado River scholars say that a plan by the lower-basin states to leave more water in Lake Mead embodies a principle they explore in a recently published article: Dropping reservoir levels have opened a window of opportunity for water-management policies that move the river system toward sustainability.

In December, water managers from California, Nevada and Arizona signed a memorandum of understanding, or MOU, to spend up to $200 million to add 500,000 acre-feet of water in both 2022 and 2023 to Lake Mead, the nation’s largest reservoir, which has dropped precipitously low due to climate change and drought.

Desert Groundwater Plan OK’d by State

The Indian Wells Valley groundwater plan got a thumbs up from the state on Thursday but with a swarm of lawsuits surrounding the plan, it’s unclear what that approval will mean going forward.

One of those lawsuits seeks a “comprehensive adjudication” of water rights of the Indian Wells Valley basin, which could reconfigure who has rights to how much groundwater, a fundamental underpinning of the groundwater sustainability plan that was just approved.

County Supervisors OK Sustainability Plan for San Pasqual Valley Basin

County supervisors Wednesday unanimously approved a sustainability plan for the San Pasqual Valley Groundwater Basin.

The plan will have the county be responsible for 10% of basin management costs within its jurisdiction.

The basin is located 25 miles northeast of downtown San Diego, and is home to dairies, orchards and nurseries.

As the Colorado River Shrinks, Can New Technology Save Water on Farms? The Answer Is Complicated

On a warm November day in Yuma, Arizona, the desert sun is beating down on a sea of low, green fields. Here, near the banks of the Colorado River, Matt McGuire is surveying an expanse of vegetables that sprawls into the desert landscape.

“You find it on the grocery shelf and it’s a leafy green,” he said, “it probably came from here. Because about 80-85% of the vegetables in the wintertime come from this area.”

Opinion: In Ojai Valley, a Glimpse of How to Nurture Land in a Drier, Post-Hydrocarbon World

The Ojai Valley in Ventura County is a magical place. Consider its elements: the sweet smell of California citrus blossoms in the spring, the open space preserved by orchards, the seasonal creeks that run free through the cultivated lands. But the Ojai Valley is also a place in peril. That’s because the water source that keeps this inland Ventura hamlet thriving is nearly dry.