Central Valley, often called the "nation's salad bowl" because it provides a majority of our fruits and vegetables, has been especially hard hit by the ongoing drought.
One-third of produce in the United States is grown in the Central Valley, made up of Sacramento Valley in the north and San Joaquin Valley in the south.
Drought: Threats to Water and Food Security
Water is life, and climate change is threatening this precious resource. Nearly every U.S. region is facing some increased risk of seasonal drought.
Climate change will significantly affect the sustainability of water supplies in the coming decades. As parts of the country get drier, the amount of water available and its quality will likely decrease - impacting people's health and food supplies.
Parts of the Western U.S. are already experiencing water crises because of severe dry-spells, but with climate change, the entire country will likely face some level of drought. NRDC's Climate Change, Water, and Risk report found that 1,100 counties - one-third of all counties in the lower 48 states - face higher risks of water shortages by mid-century as the result of climate change. More than 400 of these counties will face extremely high risks of water shortages.
As temperatures rise and precipitation decreases, water quality can be jeopardized. Shrinking amounts of water can concentrate contaminants such as heavy metals, industrial chemicals and pesticides, and sediments and salts. During drought, drinking water supplies are susceptible to harmful algal blooms and other microorganisms.
Of course, drought means more than not having access to clean drinking water. Changes in precipitation and water availability could have serious consequences for commercial agriculture – crops yield less and food security suffers. Drought conditions can also help fuel out-of-control wildfires.