Anybody reading headlines recently will see that drought is a serious problem, from China’s Yangtze River, to the formerly “Mighty Colorado,” in the USA. Right now, we see the second largest freshwater delta in the world, the Peace-Athabasca in Alberta — is drying out. Here in the Comox Valley, the news is the same. Although it might have been a couple of degrees cooler this spring, long-time residents will tell you precipitation was average, and, unfortunately, for the past three months, we have had almost no rain. The Comox Glacier continues to melt. A photo taken on Sept 27, 2022, shows that darker, crevassed, older ice is visible over a large area. Last winter’s precipitation added smooth, clean, whiter snow here and there on the glacier, but the trend is still in the wrong direction. The water shortage in the Comox Valley is here to stay, and decision makers have no choice but to face up to this fact.
The famous phrase, “Whiskey is for drinking and water is for fighting,” is alive and well. That’s what is happening now, just a day’s drive south from Vancouver. Central Valley in California is suffering the worst drought in 1200 years. The Valley is immense, 100 km wide by 750 km long, and is one of the most productive agricultural areas on the planet. Here in the Comox Valley, when we buy vegetables in the winter and early spring, if it says “Product of USA,” more than likely that fresh produce came from the Central Valley. That food is at risk. All the interests in California which want to draw upon their dwindling water resources are at war with one another, and there may be cuts to agriculture, to further drive up the cost of food. We may be only a smaller version of what is happening there, but the signs of repeating their mistakes during drought are everywhere, from infinite construction, to fighting to keep a water bottling plant out of Merville.