The current drought in California began in the southern half of the State nearly two years ago, in early 2013. By May of that year, the entire State was engulfed in a moderate drought, categorized as level “D1″ by the U.S. Drought Monitor.. For most of the year before that, California had partial droughts in various parts of the State, at different times of the year. Then, starting in May of 2013, the entire State was at a level of D1 (moderate) or D2 (severe) drought.
And since then, the CA drought has only gotten worse. By July of 2013, almost the entire State was in a severe D2 drought. By August of 2013, an area of D3 extreme drought began to grow in the central part of the State. By January of 2014, most of the State of California was in an extreme D3 drought.
And then things got worse. In February of 2014, a large portion of California became so dry it was categorized as a D4 exceptional drought — the highest level of drought. And as the weeks passed, the area affected by D4 drought only grew. By August of 2014, most of the State was engulfed in a D4 drought; the rest of the State was at a level of D3 or D2. The drought continues to this day unabated.
I don’t see any effects from the drought at the supermarket. Pricing and availability for agricultural products seem relatively unchanged. The reason is that our current food economy obtains foods from all over the nation and all over the world. So a long-standing drought in one locality does not have too much of an effect. Good.
The problem is that the food production and distribution system is complex, and food travels over long distances, passing through many different companies to go from farm to table. And a long complex distribution system can be disrupted. If some disaster, natural or man-made, disrupts that system, suddenly the drought will matter a great deal. And even if that fails to happen, a severe drought, in one of the top food-producing States, cannot continue indefinitely without reaching a tipping point. Something has to give.
Sooner or later, that California drought is going to affect our food economy. Prices will rise and availability will fall. But for some reason, few persons seem to realize the danger of this two year long drought. Preppers seem to be the canary in the mine, warning everyone of approaching disasters.