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.
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:
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.