In North America we have always more than enough stuff. OK, a lot more than enough of everything we’ve needed for a couple of hundred years. We never had any limiting factor that stopped our growth as a nation for very long – we just moved further west and there it was, more stuff. That stuff was timber, arable and grazing land, wild animals and water.
When we hit the Pacific ocean and our population continued to grow without limit the wild animals were no longer there for food so we ranched. When the limitless forest was gone we started tree farms. For food we farmed every available acre. In all these cases there was something we thought would never run out – water.
In agricultural science there is something called Liebig’s Law of the minimum. It states that growth is controlled not by the total amount of resources available, but by the scarcest resource (the limiting factor).
The limiting factor in California has been and is freshwater. It is quickly running out. Various data sources indicate that there is one to three years of water left without a relapse into former rainfall patterns.
Like the lemmings which mass migrate in a quest for food due to over population So Cal and the Bay area populations will have to move somewhere. Where will we put the ‘water refugees’? Steinbeck might have called this ‘Revenge of the dust bowl’.