As the third year in California’s intense drought drawls on, there’s been some panic over beloved foods and products that take a ton of water to produce.
Agriculture is huge in California, yielding $42.6 billion for state farms and ranches in 2012. But as NBC News pointed out, the industry has a hefty impact in water consumption:
Statewide, agriculture takes an estimated three-quarters of the water California consumes. Farming is by far the state’s largest single water user, dwarfing the amount city-dwellers use to boil their potatoes, brush their teeth, wash their clothes and water their yards.
That especially rings true in San Diego, home to more than 6,000 farms, more than any other county in the United States.
Over the past couple weeks, news outlets have singled out a few products that might be adding to the crisis conditions, including some that have a big San Diego footprint.
Known to help with weight loss, prevent diabetes and decrease the risk of Alzheimer’s, almonds have become a consumer darling. They might be good for your heart, but not so much for California’s drought. Mother Jones reports that each almond requires 1.1 gallons of water to produce, and 80 percent of the world’s almonds are grown in California.
One solution would be to stop or slow production, but almonds are a multibillion-dollar industry in California, a state that produces nearly half of the country’s fruits, nuts and vegetables.
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Almonds and avocados are important food products. And we all love our craft beer. We need to give up our excessively thirsty landscaping--but we will need our public spots of turf even more when we can't grow our own lawns. It's time to get rid of plastic water bottles, but we may want that bottled water when we go over to toilet-to-tap! Seriously, isn't it time to accept recycled water and to look at desalinization. I would support tax increases to develop new water sources.
Interesting tid bit on saving an avocado grove. When you see those stumps with white paint it means they are trying to save the grove for the long run
Let's not forget meat. A single quarter-pound beef patty requires 660 gallons of water (to irrigate the grain, water the cow, process the meat...), enough for two months of daily showers. Save water--go vegan!
Ditto. It would also be great to hear more about different farming practices that are changing the amount of water and resources required to grow the same crops.