The man-made drought in California, combined with actual drought, is slowly drawing its coils around the most productive agricultural region in the world. And it is causing what remains a great and vital industry in San Diego County to shrink a little bit each year.
It would be a shame if the Avocado Highway that wends its way north to Temecula were to become as much a symbol of the past as the name Orange County.
There is a real drought — make no mistake — and we are in the middle of it. But there is also a manmade drought, brought about by environmental concerns grown so large and overwhelming that the needs of small fish are considered more important than the needs of the 36 million people who inhabit the Golden State.
In California, we have adopted a policy that — if it were applied to a famine — would amount to fighting hunger by requiring that everyone eat less — instead of growing more food. In California, we make it hard — almost impossible — to take steps to create more water, in favor of conservation. That is why it took such an effort and waste of time for the desalination plant in Carlsbad to overcome every hurdle that the radical enviros put in its path.
That is also why any proposals for redirecting more water to the south from Northern California, instead of jettisoning it into the ocean, is fought with a death grip. Environmental groups feel they cannot afford to lose any of these battles, and they fight with the ferocity of crusading knights to cut off any hint of dealing with our energy problems by creating more energy, or our water problems by building more dams or creating more supply. As one famous activist once said, small groups of dedicated fanatics are capable of achieving almost anything if they set their minds to it — and the lackadaisical majority lets them have their way.
One result is the decline of agriculture in San Diego County, as demonstrated by the recent publication of the 2015 San Diego County Crop Statistics & Annual Report, which you can find at this location: www.sandiegocounty.gov/content/dam/sdc/awm/docs/2015%20 Crop%20Report%20Website_ optimized%20.pdf
That report shows that increased prices for water and drought restrictions caused ag in this county to decline 6.4% in crop value and 6.5% in acreage planted in 2015, compared to the year before.
Escondido is justly proud of its agricultural past, that it celebrates in events such as Grape Days, but it DOES have an agricultural present, although that is to a large degree restricted to the periphery of the city. San Diego County also still has an agricultural present, but it is balanced on a very narrow precipice.
If the forces of reason continue to lose all the battles, that future will become very precarious indeed.