Water-resource related issues—especially the cost of water—are the most important issues facing avocado growers, but socioeconomic drivers and environmental drivers are as well, including land resources, drought conditions, tax laws, zoning ordinances, and commodity markets. San Diego County has more farms than any other county in the United States, with over 5,700 operations, but is losing over 8% of its farmland every year, much of that land considered “prime.” This land is among the most productive farmland in the United States in terms of crop production value, and is some of the last remaining land in agriculture in southern California.
Geohazards have generally been understood and defined as events that take place on short human timescales, from milliseconds to a several months. However, both human- and naturally-induced events can develop and occur over the course of several years or longer. “Creeping hazards”—a term used as early as 1979 and referenced, though sparingly, in subsequent works—are a subset of events that exhibit the characteristics of geohazards (i.e., in terms of vulnerability, risk, and exposure). Distinct, but related to, “slow-onset” disasters, creeping hazards reflect permanent changes to a system. For example, although drought is often included as an example of such a hazard, drought is better understood as a slow-onset disaster. Better examples of a creeping hazard as defined here include aquifer depletion (and associated land subsidence), desertification, land degradation, certain hazards associated with climate change, and soil creep.