Industry Trends for California Water & Ag | 10.13 to 10.18.20


By CNBC, 10/13/20
Last month, it also announced that it would replenish more water than it consumes by 2030, focusing on 40 “highly stressed” basins where it operates. It’s not the first tech company to make such an announcement — in May, Intel pledged to become net positive for water use by the end of the decade. And water use is a global issue: The U.N. estimates that the world is using six times more water now than it was 100 years ago and use is going up by about 1% annually. The U.S. government estimates that data centers would use 660 billion liters of water in 2020, that’s enough to fill 264,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools. Microsoft now makes more than 36% of its revenue from its Commercial Cloud group — up from 10% in 2016 — and it’s working on ways to make the data centers (that provide those cloud computing products) more energy efficient, from putting them under water to testing hydrogen fuel cells for backup power. Azure, Microsoft’s public cloud network, is delivered via more than 60 data center regions, including one in Arizona — one of the driest states in the U.S. — that will open in 2021.

By NY Times, 10/14/20
The farmers armed themselves with sticks, rocks and homemade shields, ambushed hundreds of soldiers guarding a dam and seized control of one of the border region’s most important bodies of water. The Mexican government was sending water — their water — to Texas, leaving them next to nothing for their thirsty crops, the farmers said. So they took over the dam and have refused to allow any of the water to flow to the United States for more than a month. “This is a war,” said Victor Velderrain, a grower who helped lead the takeover, “to survive, to continue working, to feed my family.” The standoff is the culmination of longstanding tensions over water between the United States and Mexico that have recently exploded into violence, pitting Mexican farmers against their own president and the global superpower next door.


Although these days no one seems to agree on anything, there is one thing we can all agree on: every Californian should have a right to clean drinking water. But even with that, California is facing an impending water shortage. With widespread fires, a COVID-19 provoked economic recession bringing widespread unemployment and a public health emergency, it would be easy, but not prudent, to forget that we face a water crisis around the next corner.


By S&P Global, 10/15/20

Water is essential to the production and delivery of nearly all goods and services. Many businesses are reliant on a sufficient flow of clean water to operate and realize their growth ambitions. Overconsumption of water, water pollution, environmental degradation, and changing climatic conditions are making clean water an increasingly scarce resource.1 As the world population grows and competition for water resources between industry sectors intensifies, nations are set to experience a 40% shortfall in water by 2030.

By Financial Times, 10/18/20

Water futures are about to hit financial markets for the first time, with the launch of contracts tied to prices in California. But academics and investors fear the derivatives will offer a poor hedge for water users and may end up distorting prices for the vital resource. Developers CME Group and Nasdaq say the contracts will help farmers, municipalities and other big water users to hedge their water costs as the world warms up and droughts become more common. Senior US regulators have welcomed the contracts as a risk-management tool. But critics say the contracts may prove difficult to trade, given the highly localised nature of water pricing and regulation. Some are also uneasy with such a basic resource becoming a speculative financial-market asset, fearing that trading, which would not be restricted to industrial users, could distort water prices for everyone.

By LA Business Journal, 10/12/20

In many areas of the world, there may be no more precious commodity than water — and that’s especially true in Los Angeles.  So, it’s probably not surprising that L.A. has become a font of activity for companies looking to tap the water market in myriad ways. “I think Los Angeles is definitely a hub of water innovation because we have to (be),” said Matt Petersen, president and chief executive at downtown-based Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator.

By LA Times, 10/16/20

The forecast looks warm and continued dry this winter in California and the Southwest, which raises the disturbing prospect of a perpetual fire season. More than 45% of the continental U.S. is experiencing drought right now, especially in the West. With a La Niña climate pattern well established and expected to persist, the drought may expand and intensify in the southern part of the country during the winter ahead, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted. The official outlook from NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, released Thursday, favors warmer, drier conditions across the Southern tier of the U.S. and cooler, wetter conditions in the north, consistent with an ongoing La Niña.


By NY Times, 10/15/20

Nearly half of the continental United States is gripped by drought, government forecasters said Thursday, and conditions are expected to worsen this winter across much of the Southwest and South. Mike Halpert, deputy director of the Climate Prediction Center, a part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said a lack of late-summer rain in the Southwest had expanded “extreme and exceptional” dry conditions from West Texas into Colorado and Utah, “with significant drought also prevailing westward through Nevada, Northern California and the Pacific Northwest.” 

See also - 

By NOAA, 10/18/20

The Los Angeles Basin is often thought of as a dry, smoggy, overdeveloped landscape. But a new study led by NOAA and the University of Colorado, Boulder shows that the manicured lawns, emerald golf courses and trees of America’s second-largest city have a surprisingly large influence on the city’s carbon emissions. Megacities like LA contribute significantly to national and global CO2 emissions and are an increasingly important priority for mitigation efforts, the scientists said. The green spaces within megacities provide numerous benefits, including improving air quality, capturing runoff, moderating temperatures and offering outdoor recreation. So the ability to distinguish fossil fuel pollution from “natural” CO2 will be important for designing and evaluating urban pollution control strategies, the scientists said. 

By AgriPulse, 10/14/20

Hemp industry stakeholders are pushing for regulatory certainty as one of the crop's chief byproducts gains in popularity with a curious consumer base. Viewed as a miracle product by many consumers, cannabidiol, or CBD, one of the newest ingredients being used in dietary supplements, has run into headwinds. A seizure-reduction drug, COVID-19, a patchwork of state legislation, false advertising, and even adulteration of products have intensified the industry’s push to regulate CBD’s use in dietary supplements, allowing products that contain it to be freely sold in all 50 states. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), firms are prohibited from marketing hemp-derived CBD as a dietary supplement under the Food and Drug Cosmetic Act (FDCA). CBD’s legal status as a dietary supplement under state laws varies considerably, from totally illegal to totally lawful.

BY CA Public Radio, 10/15/20

A statewide water shutoff moratorium has kept the tap on for Californians who haven’t been able to pay their water bill in the midst of the pandemic-driven economic crisis. But ratepayer debt has been accruing for months now, leading to revenue losses for water providers across the state. Just how bad is the problem? California water regulators still are not sure. Anecdotal reports suggest some water providers have seen revenue losses between 20% and 30%, with some reporting a 50% drop. Advocates say the crisis has pushed smaller systems that serve some of the state’s most vulnerable residents to the brink of survival, and threatens to leave many ratepayers with significant debt. “Those water bills are going to come due,” said Jonathan Nelson, the policy director at the Community Water Center. “Not only is there no plan for what to do about that crisis of water debt and potential mass water shutoffs next year, but we don't even know the full scope of the problem.”

By The Independent, 10/17/20

In 1870, about half of all Americans had jobs in agriculture, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Today, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports that farmworkers comprise less than 1% of salary workers in the U.S. Nevertheless, production is still huge. U.S. farmers raise hundreds of millions of egg-laying hens, harvest millions of tons of fruits and vegetables, and keep the rest of the world supplied with corn, wheat, and soybeans. A single acre of land can grow 50,000 pounds of strawberries or 3,000 pounds of wheat, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation; and in 2018 alone, $139.6 billion worth of U.S. agricultural products were exported around the world. Keep reading to find more fascinating information about farming in the United States.

By US EPA Press Release, 10/13/2020

Today, President Trump signed an Executive Order on “Modernizing America’s Water Resource Management and Water Infrastructure.” This historic action ensures Federal coordination on water policy is standard practice now and into the future by formally establishing a Water Subcabinet of senior Federal agency officials to facilitate efficient and effective management and modernization of our water supplies and systems while also eliminating duplication between agencies. With this Executive Order, President Trump is demonstrating his bold vision for improving our Federal water infrastructure and prioritizing access to essential water supplies for all Americans.

MORE:  Modernizing Water Resources, By Ag Info Network
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