The Water Situation In California

Almond blossom tree

The water situation in California will be difficult to solve. There are a lot of things to take into account. The Golden State is in a severe drought and many say the current proposals to solve the problem are insufficient and don’t attempt to solve the root problems.

You can’t look in the national news without seeing a depressing photo of a lake, river or reservoir with a side by side photo from five years ago. So who or what is the culprit? There is plenty of blame to go around but it’s important to see through the bickering.

Some news outlets looking at the drought have looked to bottled water as the reason for water loss. Bottled water is not as heavily regulated as tap water, it’s expensive and poses a threat to the environment but its consumption is relatively low.

There has also been a lot of conversation around the agriculture in the state that is responsible for 80% of the states water use. The two conversations center on two popular California exports – beef and almonds. Almonds and other fruits and nuts are an important cash crop for the state. The common statistic you’ll hear when you discuss the drought in California is that it takes one gallon of water for one almond. This is, however, a little misleading because it takes into account the time for an almond tree to come to maturity. Beef, however, uses a lot of water per pound.

When Governor Jerry Brown asked people to voluntarily limit their water consumption there was a drop but another dry season meant that these restrictions would now be mandatory. This will help and is one area where changes can realistically be made with better technology and drought resistant plants. For farms increased efficiency will be vital to the long-term water situation.