Barren dusty hills, and reservoirs at record lows. Climate change is causing massive disruption to California, a food basket to North America

Barren dusty hills, and reservoirs at record lows. Climate change is causing massive disruption to California, a food basket to North America
Photo Credit: RUnning on Empty

Documentary: California drought- another warning of climate change

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The lush fruit orchards, nut groves, vinyards and vegetable fields of California supply food to almost all of North America and beyond.

Reliable year-round sun and ample water have meant unparalleled yields for decades.

But that has come at a cost in water. Massive pumping of ground water has depleted aquifers with almost 2,000 wells run dry in the state. The  region has been suffering a multi-year drought,the worst in almost 1,000 years meaning surface water is becoming scarcer even as demand increases. That multi-year drought now appears in fact to be “the new normal” for the region.

Orchard trees sacrificed to save others. Millions of trees in the state have died from lack of water
Orchard trees sacrificed in one plot to save others in the neighouring plot. Millions of trees in the state have died from lack of water © Running on Empty

Running on Empty is a new documentary looking at the water crisis in California. It is billed as an up-close, eye-opening look at California’s ongoing drought, and the looming battle over a shrinking water supply”

Canadian Mike Downie is director, co-writer, and co-producer

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Mike Downie is director and co-writer and co-producer of Running on Empty
Mike Downie is director and co-writer and co-producer of Running on Empty

The important thing to realize is that it’s not just a California problem. The film looks at their situation, and how that is a harbinger of droughts and other extreme weather events that in fact are already happening in Canada and around the world

In the hour-long documentary, Canadian scientist Nick Eyles, takes a road trip around California to examine how that state ignored decades of accepted water wisdom, drained its oasis dry, and is now trying to remedy this desperate  situation.

As an example of how much the land has sunk through pumping out the aquifer, the telepone pole indicates previous land heights showing the entire region has sunk by several metres
As an example of how much the land has sunk through pumping out ancient aquifers, the telephone pole indicates previous land heights showing the entire region has sunk by several metres © Running on Empty

Many have described the situation in California is yet another ‘canary in the coalmine’ example of how poor water management policies, combined with the growing problems of climate change, is affecting, or certainly will affect all of us everywhere.

RUNNING ON EMPTY- Trailer- YouTube

A visually stunning film, RUNNING ON EMPTY details the scope of the California situation and looks at a  diverse range of innovative solutions initiated in the state, and which could help initiate debate in Canada and other countries on solutions and policies and practices we could be developing now to mitigate the coming climate changes brought about by global warming.

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One comment on “Documentary: California drought- another warning of climate change
  1. Peter Ashcroft says:

    With falling vineyard output I am reminded that China is coming forward as a top quality wine growing area, in competition with wine growers elsewhere.