The Water Problem is an Almond Problem

This article highlights the main water problem in California.

“Clearly, we are in a crisis. Many cities have mandated water rationing, and these strictures will only increase as water availability tightens. We could reasonably expect a similar response from the agribusiness sector. But this is California, where corporate agriculture is king. Rather than conserving water, corporate farmers have moved in the opposite direction; specifically, they are planting vast new almond orchards throughout the San Joaquin Valley.”

“70 percent of the state’s almonds are sold for export. It takes a full gallon of water to produce a single almond; further, more water is required to yield four almonds than an entire head of lettuce. Between the summer of 2013 and the summer of 2014, when the state was deep in the throes of the current drought, growers planted 48,000 acres of new almond orchards.”

“So while urban ratepayers across the state must endure severe cutbacks in water consumption, San Joaquin Valley corporate farmers are planting new almond orchards at breakneck speed. ”

“When it comes to surface water, the law is against them. San Joaquin Valley growers actually are among the most junior of the state’s water rights claimants. They are hoping their power in Sacramento and Washington will trump their flimsy legitimacy claims. They take the water, frankly, because they can.”

To read the entire article, go to The Santa Barbara Independent “Drought in California”.

And check out next time you are at Safeway’s how many beans, asparagus, lettuce and other fresh produce is now coming from Mexico or Costa Rica instead of California.

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