There is a growing concern that California is experiencing a drought where some consider it to be something that is going to pass and where others consider it to be grave danger for the Golden State. Â So what exactly is the status of California? Â Running On Empty set to be televised on CBC’s The Nature of Things where director Mike Downie and producer Dave Wells have teamed up to investigate this pressing issue by interviewing professional and non-professional people who vow that the well is running dry. Â From Farmer Joe Del Bosque who has been cut off by the government supplied sources of irrigation necessary to sustain his farm to longtime resident of the the dying and shrinking Salton Sea, Earl Griffis, there is credible evidence that supports that this drought spells trouble ahead. Â Ontario native and host Nick Eyles makes the road trip to California to help gain a sense of the dynamics of this drought and how it is affecting everyone on a local and global level. Â As they say, the news of this drought is “no bueno” and FERNTV caught up with producer Dave Wells about how important this issue really is and what is to come for the state of California.
FERNTV: Â What happened when you became interested in the drought issue in California?
Dave: Â OurÂ eyes were opened to the severity of California’s drought while working on a documentary about snow. Â The annual snowpack is very important because it supplies a lot of California’s surface water. Â We learned that the snowpack was at historic lows. Â The more we learned about the drought the more we thought-we need to make a film about this.
FERNTV: Â How did you become involved in this film and how did you draw up the blueprint when it came to finding out who to talk to and what to talk about?
Dave: Â Mike Downie and myself had worked on three other docs for The Nature of Things and we approached Nick because his passion for the issue and his scientific knowledge because he’s a geologist familiar with the world’s driest places. Â He also has a great sense of adventure. Â Mike and I spent two months researching the story and writing a proposal for CBC.
FERNTV: Â On your road trip to California, tell us what most stuck out in your mind about the drought?
Dave: Â The size of the agriculture areas of the state. Â I’m from Ontario’s Farm Country and I’d never seen fields this big. Â Not shocking when one thinks about all the food California exports.
FERNTV: Â What is the most shocking fact that you learned through your interviews?
Dave: Â That 20,000 year-old groundwater is being pumped to irrigate California’s fruit, nut and vegetable crops.
FERNTV: Â Why should Canadians be concerned about a drought issue that is south of the border?
Dave: Â First, we consume a lot of California’s water when we shop for groceries. Â Second, it’s a cautionary tale.
FERNTV: Â Do you feel that the state of California is going to sink like the Titanic when it comes to the drought?Â So is this is similar to a slow burning process?
Dave: Â Some scientists predict mega-droughts may be coming to California. Â These could last decades.
FERNTV: Â If Trump or Clinton were to become President, what are some of their solutions to alleviate the problems?
Dave: Â I don’t think either have a plan, but are leaving it to the state and local governments.
FERNTV: Â What is it like to work with David Suzuki on Running On Empty?
Dave: Â David narrated this film and when he finished his recording session he exclaimed that California is in deep trouble.