By Zach Griebling, ALC Denver
Last year in the summer of 2021, Lake Mead and Lake Powell, two of the largest reservoirs in North America, reached an all-time low. Over time there have been different megadroughts that have occurred throughout history, the one we are currently in has lasted over 22 years. During these unprecedented times ranchers and produce farmers have dealt with water shortages as well as wildfires.
In February 2022, the federal government announced that they would not be deliveringwater to farmers in California’s agricultural belt which provides roughly 25% of our nation’s food. The federal government operates the Central Valley Project in California, a complex system of dams, reservoirs, and canals. This is the fourth time in the last decade that farmers of the San Joaquin-Sacramento River Delta have received no federal aid from the government.
With the uncertainty of the amount of water that will be available to farmers this year, we could see loads out of California drop, creating problems for carriers on the West Coast that depend on produce out of this area to support their business. California growers may need to shift their plans for acreage in the state if they have an option elsewhere. Other growing regions will need to pick up the slack because some crops traditionally grown in California will likely come from more local areas, which will further strain transportation needs. We will be watching to see how Mother Nature may affect rates not only in California but around the country.
Zach Griebling is a transportation broker in the ALC Denver office.