Current Events & Trends: California drought conditions becoming critical

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California drought conditions becoming critical

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Water scarcity is a serious matter. A recent National Public Radio (NPR) article said: “The water outlook in drought-racked California just got a lot worse: Snowpack levels across the entire Sierra Nevada [mountain range] are now the lowest in recorded history—just 6 percent of the long-term average. That shatters the previous low record on this date of 25 percent, set in 1977 and again last year” (Nathan Rott, “Scary Times for California Farmers as Snowpack Hits Record Lows,” April 1, 2015). As a result, California is imposing its first-ever mandatory water restrictions.

Farmers are really struggling. When there’s no rain or snowmelt, the only water available for drinking is from wells. Yet water below ground is diminishing every day. Farmers typically would rely on government water and use groundwater to supplement their needs. But last year there was no government water, and it looks like this year will be the same situation.

While droughts can be common natural occurrences, they might indicate something else. We should consider that God warned ancient Israel that He would send droughts as a national judgment and a warning of further judgment to come if the people refused to repent: “The skies above will be as unyielding as bronze, and the earth will be as hard as iron. The Lord will change the rain that falls on your land into powder, and dust will pour down from the sky until you are destroyed” (Deuteronomy 28:23-24, New Living Translation; compare Jeremiah 12:4; Jeremiah 14:1-10). One severe drought is not necessarily such a judgment. But devastating patterns of drought should be considered in this light—especially with the rampant immorality and rejection of God we see today.

Even if particular droughts are not directly from God, people still need His help and blessing in the midst of them and all troubles. And for that we should be seeking Him in faith and living according to His will (see Matthew 7:7-11; Hebrews 11:6; 1 John 3:22). (Sources: National Public Radio, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.)