Drought Raises Doubts About California ‘Experiment’
California’s brutal, four-year drought is raising questions about whether the state can continue to grow, the New York Times reported earlier this month.
“You just can’t live the way you always have,” said Gov. Jerry Brown, after announcing a mandatory, 25% cut in water consumption that left the state’s agriculture and fracking industries largely untouched.
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“For over 10,000 years, people lived in California, but the number of those people was never more than 300,000 or 400,000,” he said. “Now we are embarked upon an experiment that no one has ever tried: 38 million people, with 32 million vehicles, living at the level of comfort that we all strive to attain. This will require adjustment. This will require learning.”
University of Southern California historian Kevin Star agreed that “Mother Nature didn’t intend for 40 million people to live here.” California “is not going to go under, but we are going to have to go in a different way.”
With $2.2 trillion per year in activity, California’s economy “is the seventh largest in the world, more than quadruple the $520 billion economy of 1963, adjusted for inflation,” the Times writes. “The median household income jumped to an estimated $61,094 in 2013 from $44,772 in 1960, also adjusted for inflation.”