California Drought Threatens Entire Country. Three Pictures Show How Bad It Really Is.

On January 17, California’s governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency due to an historic drought that is decimating crops and forcing farmers to leave their fields fallow.

Experts are already predicting higher food prices and potential food shortages if food production doesn’t pick up elsewhere.

But this is not just a food problem…

Equally as troubling, Californians could be facing increased energy costs, power shortages, and even rationing. Breitbart explains the potential effects of the drought:

California’s severe drought could have wide-ranging effects beyond familiar water restrictions, ranging from higher food prices to a power shortage in the state. The Fresno Bee reports that farmers in parts of California are leaving fields to lie fallow, bulldozing fruit trees and selling cattle stocks prematurely–all of which could add up to higher food prices around the country if production elsewhere does not pick up the shortfall.

In addition, the lack of rainfall could mean that many of the state’s hydroelectric plants, powered by reservoir dams, will struggle to generate power for the region. The ten most powerful hydroelectric plants generate some 2,500 megawatts, more than the 2,150 megawatts once produced by the recently shuttered San Onofre nuclear plant. That, in turn, could lead to rationing of usage and potentially higher prices for scarce supplies of power.

Here are three pictures of the San Luis Reservoir that the National Weather Service shared on Twitter.

It was just two years ago that Texas suffered its worst single-year drought in the state’s history. During June, July, and August of 2011, Texas recorded the hottest 3-month period ever recorded in any state in all of American history.

The damage was widespread and catastrophic. It’s estimated that half a billion trees died from lack of water. Once-green pastures became withered and worthless.

Some of the state’s lakes saw water levels drop by 12 vertical feet. Crazier still, a 5,440-acre lake dried up completely, leaving dead fish baked into the mud and exposed to the blistering sun. The lake simply no longer exists.

More than 600,000 cattle died or were slaughtered prematurely during the Texas drought, causing beef prices to go up by 9% or more all around the country.

California’s extreme drought could have similar far-reaching effects, especially since weather experts believe the state will be facing at least three more months of extremely dry weather.