Gov. Brown and the Drought in California

Today the governor of California went on national TV and told climate deniers to wake up and smell the drought. While this was theatrical and effective, it was no more or less showman-like than what the senator with the snowball did a month ago in Washington. Sorry, Mr. Brown, but the fact that it has been dry in California for a few years by itself if proves nothing about climate change. I would have expected more substance from our governor.

The drought in California is serious. I have never seen our lakes so low and our hills so brown. And I am very concerned about our water use.

Front Yard

This is the view I have when I back out of our garage. The gate in the middle of the picture is our front garden gate. Everything behind it is our responsibility to groom and water. The home owners association if responsible for everything in front of the gate. It’s lush and green, because it gets watered heavily, and much water runs off the driveway and down the gutter. Hundreds of houses in our neighborhood are watered this way. Millions of houses in California.

While I have the power to flush my toilet less, I am in dismay when I realize that a month of no toilets would probably save less water than is getting spread over my front lawn every day – and I have no control over that.

Here is the water usage in California:

Water Use in California

This is worse than the 80/20 rule. 80% of our water in California goes into agriculture, and it produces 2% of our economic output.

Yet, the governor in his directive has targeted the 20% residential and industrial users to curb their water use by 25%, while the agricultural community is just given “guidelines.” This makes no sense to me.

The biggest use of water in agriculture is alfalfa, which is largely a crop for feed for cows. The next largest is almonds. It takes more than one gallon of water to grow a single almond. We also grow a lot of rice in California.

Here is an interesting chart from Mother Jones:


It show how much water the entire city of Los Angeles uses in a year (about 0.8 billion cubic meters). Then it compares this to the amount of water needed to produce the walnuts exported overseas from California (1.0 billion cubic meters), and the water needed to produce the almonds exported overseas from California (2.3 billion cubic meters). Ten percent of all our water is used for almonds. Almonds cover 940,000 acres in California.

I say, we forget about producing almonds and shipping them to the rest of the world, and we have plenty of water for all the cities in California for a very long time.

None of this makes any sense to me.

Governor Brown, wake up and smell some common sense.


3 thoughts on “Gov. Brown and the Drought in California

  1. No disrespect intended, but my husband & I love Santa Fe, NM. But we would never move there bc it’s a state without water resources and should not be inhabited by people. Perhaps the same holds true for Cali. You can choose to live elsewhere there are places that are more desirable and amenable to human populations. If you live there, you’re simply adding to the problem.

  2. Anonymous

    Forget about producing almonds? do you not understand that how many lives are impacted on agriculture.. or the fact that its over a 100 billion dollar industry, and how it drives our economy. Or the amount of people that are fed by the produce that our cows produce… all because you want to water your grass more. I live in the Central Valley and nobody has green grass around because our local government limits us to water twice a week. yet when i travel to los angles and the surrounding counties. there’s green lawns every where. your selfish ways are no where near common sense. water needs to go to places where it matters. and a 100 billion dollar industry that employee over a million people matters. And those are the people that are documented. not including the undocumented people that come here to work the fields in hopes to make there lives better. This all depends on the water. These statistics don’t involve companies that complaint th agriculture business such as tractor companies, engineering companies that produce systems that move the fruit more efficiently. or the truck drivers that move the produce. so much more goes into agriculture than what it is credited for. we are in a drought and people lives are dependent on water. think twice before you write a blog for your selfish intentions. 2% is not accurate.

    1. Interesting comment on a post that’s almost five years old. You are calling me “selfish” and I am puzzled about that? You don’t know me, you don’t know my water consumption habits, but yet, you make your own point about your own objectives, which I could call selfish – but I won’t. My post is meant to draw attention to a deeply flawed system of resource allocation and planning.

      You apparently completely missed the point of my post. I am not talking about watering my lawn. As a matter of fact, I am showing my HOA’s misuse of water that I have no control over. What you’re seeing is a picture of my house watering itself where I have no way to turn the faucet off. THAT IS MY POINT. Of course, I have since long moved and none of this is current anymore. It’s raining hard outside right now as I write this.

      I do not understand your comment about “2% is not accurate.” What does it refer to, and what is accurate? I will gladly make corrections if I misstated facts.

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