When you hear that our farmers will be receiving no water from our rivers this season, we all better grab on to something sturdy and prepare for a bumpy ride. We have relied on this area to feed much of the world, including ourselves. Now the inability to produce this food will affect us in our investments, employment and our pocketbooks at the grocery store.
My even greater concern comes from what we cannot see yet — the groundwater. Over the past 60-plus years that my family has been in the area, the water table has slowly lowered. I was told years ago that it replenishes itself, but it really never did. It continued to slowly drop year after year like a leaky faucet. But over the past 10 years, we have turned this area into the wine capital of the world. It’s been saving our economy by employing thousands and creating lucrative businesses that can be attributed to the industry, but at what cost?
The underground wells which supply the thirsty little vines that produce our cherished glasses of wine will be sucking up billions of gallons of water from deep in the ground where it is out of sight and out of mind. That’s not even addressing the issue of the massive amount of water it takes to process the wine.
It is time that we all start realizing that water is not an endless commodity, and we need to start setting up a balanced plan between our economy and our resources.