Can What You’re Eating Affect The California Drought?

According to the New York Times, “the average American consumes more than 300 gallons of California water each week by eating food that was produced there.”

This is hardly surprising, since California has a reputation for tasty and healthy agriculture, and as such what they produce is exported throughout the U.S. This means that California is providing food not only for themselves, but also for 49 other states! This takes a LOT of water. Just how much? Let’s put it in perspective: currently, California produces 1/3 of all the nation’s veggies and 2/3 of the fruit and nuts. That’s a lot of crops that need watering. Here’s some numbers:

If you have a snack that consists of 16 almonds, it’s taken 15.3 gallons to grow.

A slice of an orange (just a slice!) takes 6.2 gallons

If your family consumes two ounces of rice, that’s 15.1 gallons of water.

A third of an egg takes 6 gallons.

When considering meat and dairy products, the equivalent of four glasses of milk requires 143 gallons of water to produce! Why so much? Well, water is needed to not only to produce the milk and meat products, but to grow the crops for the animals as well.

It becomes clear that the historic drought California is currently facing is in no small way affected by the amount of food produced to meet demand; both in-State and for export. If you enjoy fresh meats and produce, this may be a cause of concern. If this drought persists, farmers may be forced to slash production while prices start to rise. These cuts have already begun, with California farmers in the Central Valley agreeing to reduce their water usage by decreasing the amount of crops planted or allowing pieces of land to go fallow.

To see the whole picture, please click here for the original article.


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WattzOn Labs is always innovating ways to engage people to save water and energy. It showcases the WattzOn products under the WattzOn Labs private-label. We don’t market these products, but use this small-scale direct-to-consumer experience to constantly evolve and learn. Then we apply the findings to the rich, private-label products used by all our customers at WattzOn.