California's dry future

How will California’s growing regions adapt to drier conditions? Jeff Siegel investigates.

Photo by Vital Sinkevich on Unsplash
Photo by Vital Sinkevich on Unsplash

Aaron Lange remembers – and not always fondly – helping to plant young oak trees around his family’s land in California’s Lodi Valley when he was a child. The chore, he says, was part of his parents’ and grandparents’ commitment to the land. “There was a collective sense, even then, that we had a responsibility to the land,” says Lange, vineyard operations manager at his family’s LangeTwins Winery. “The land had been clear-cut to make room for farming, so we needed to put some of the trees back.”
Lange knows the water crisis facing California’s grape growers and winemakers is not especially new. The state’s water has always been a precious commodity: it’s a lesson his family learned early on and something responsible growers and producers have always been conscious of. The difference today is climate change, and how it will almost certainly exacerbate the state’s century-plus of water problems. 

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