California's State Legislature recently came to its senses, if only partly and momentarily, and halted the re-injection of fracking waste water, warning it may be contaminating California's aquifers. [Technicians were probably lucky to recovered their data at the rate California's aquifers are dropping]. There's an estimated 25,000 fracking wells in Calif [millions more globally]. They take between 2-8 million gallons of water each, some much more, and a well may be fracked multiple times, with each frack increasing the chances of chemical leakage into the soil and local water sources.
The western states, especially California, are in a drought that's going from bad to catastrophic. The U.S. Drought Monitor reported that more than half of the state is now in experiencing 'exceptional' drought, the most severe category available. And most of the state – 81% – currently has one of the two most intense levels of drought. While California’s problems are particularly severe, that state is not alone in experiencing significant drought right now. There are wide swaths of moderate to severe drought stretching from Oregon to Texas, with problems impacting numerous states west of the Mississippi River. Even more frightening is that much of the rest of the world is dealing with water scarcity issues too. In fact, North America is actually in better shape than much of Africa and Asia.
So, California isn't unique, neither is drought. Loooooong droughts come and go from the desert as they did when they drove out the Chaco 1100 years ago. Of course the snows and rain will return but maybe not until the humans have been eliminated long enough for the climate to return to it's mid-glaciation period. Fortunately one day though the cottonwoods will break through the dams, the snows will return to the high sierra and California's big valley will have its lake back and filled with migratory birds and countless other life forms.
One of the greatest lessons in my life comes from geology's accounting of the scale of time. We are a speck, we can, have and will continue to take down countless innocents in our hubris, but in the looooooong run we'll be a thin shiny line in the sediment. Life will continue on it's merry way without us. That realization gives me the power/energy to care, to try to help civilization break it's fall, to help some fellow travelers have some seed in the feeder, some crunchies in the bowl each day.
Water is under attack from our callous abuse in the immoral pursuit of possessions, We could all change...but in any case, cottonwoods will break through the desert's dams and snow will cover the Sierras again someday.