Farmworkers’ Dilemma: Affordable Housing, but Undrinkable Water
OASIS, CALIFORNIA – September is the time of year that country clubs become ghost towns in Southern California’s Coachella Valley. It’s still too hot for tee times at the valley’s golf courses with temperatures often soaring to the century mark.
And while most tourists aren’t flocking to posh Indian Wells or parties in Palm Springs, it’s the busy season for the region’s other industry: date farming.
There are veritable forests of date palms growing here – tufts of green feathery fronds poke the horizon in almost every direction. Ladders dangle from 80ft trees, awaiting ascension by palmeros who will spend months picking most of the country’s date supply – some 44 million lbs.
The Coachella Valley stretches 45 flat miles from the base of the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto mountains to the Salton Sea, a saline cauldron that’s slowly shrinking back into the desert.
In the journey from the valley’s west to east, Coachella’s dueling economies and realities are evident. Out here in the desert, landscaped yards and gated communities give way to dusty lots in just blocks, and the line between haves and have-nots is stark. READ MORE ON WATER DEEPLY