We get it: four years of drought, dried-up reservoirs, and no significant rain in sight. We’ve got a problem.
A few reliable sources have come forward to publicly mention the facts about how our water is “shared.” Some have even pointed out the glaring inequity in distribution to residential, business, and governmental users (estimated as low as 4 percent) as opposed to agriculture’s gluttonous consumption (estimated as high as 96 percent).
In April 2015, NBC Nightly News reported “it takes 11 gallons of water to grow one pound of broccoli, 300 for one pound of rice, and 2,000 gallons for one pound of almonds.”
These statistics are disturbing enough. But now, I’m angry.
Gov. Jerry Brown has just mandated a 25 percent annual reduction of water usage to us, the 4 percent users. How much is agriculture mandated to reduce? Nothing!! It is not required to cut back a drop of water, while the primarily big, corporate agriculture companies continue to receive generous governmental subsidies to grow these very thirsty crops.
Simply using more conservative estimates such as the “California Department of Water Resources,” which reports agriculture’s usage as 77 percent, does not make me 19 percent less angry.
Of course, we should all do our part to reduce water usage—emphasis on all.
Perhaps the governor is not trying to conceal these facts in mandating the 25 percent reduction to only us in the 4 percent. And I’m not accusing him of taking bribes from the big money, agricultural interests. However, he does need to “tweak” this new executive order to include them. My hope is for him to do this willingly and ASAP—before we of the 4 percent become as angry as I am.
Until then, we can follow my mother’s wise words and “vote with our pocketbooks.” Stop buying almonds. Yesterday, I put a bag of almond M&Ms back on the grocery shelf. I love them, but not as much as having water.
-- Karen Juran - Baywood Park