California offers drought example

Letters to the Editor (The Guardian)
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Editor: A few weeks ago, television viewers were informed on drought problems in the state of California. Due to the scarcity of fresh water many orange groves are being intentionally destroyed. Most interesting, for me, had to do with deep-water wells being used to water and irrigate the orange groves during drought periods.

After the first lot of deep wells became available and after that drought subsided, growers decided they had an abundance of water and they increased their acreage. But this present existing drought period, which started almost two years ago without letup, has resulted in a race to drill more and more wells. Growers now realize the deepest wells take away water from the surrounding not-so-deep wells, causing them to go dry. To replace the dry wells, even deeper wells are drilled. A domino effect is occurring.

I wonder if those same problems will be allowed to develop here on our little stretch of red soil. In rural P.E.I., every residence, every business and every farm each have their own relatively shallow wells that provide for their fresh water needs.

P.E.I. doesn’t have snow-capped mountains to provide snow melt water to augment our ground water table. P.E.I. doesn’t have any large deep fresh water lakes that can be used as watershed fresh water reservoirs.

If deep-water wells are used to water and irrigate P.E.I.’s crops, what will happen to all the relatively shallow wells? How many will run dry? Will there be a domino effect? Will each well drilling company try to drill to a deeper depth every well they drill?

California orange growers didn’t look far into their future. They were excited to benefit from short-term gain. Will such ignorance, such lack of knowledge, such lack of foresight, be condoned here on P.E.I., or like the orange growers, will we go for the short-term gain.

I, for one, hope not.

D.S. MacWilliams,


Geographic location: California

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