How much water does it take to create … everything?

Click for a somewhat disconcerting, interactive graphic.

Source: LA Times

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  1. RW commented on Apr 20

    I’m skeptical of some of the LA Times numbers; e.g., chickpeas are a common crop in poorer, semi-arid areas because they normally require relatively little watering in addition to fixing their own nitrogen fertilizer (Chickpea production)

    • Winchupuata commented on Apr 20

      That’s impressive… and scary. Never thought there was so little water in our tiny globe.

  2. jbegan commented on Apr 20

    Read today that one almond requires a gallon of water: Alarm as almond farmers consume California’s water | Business | The Guardian

    And a hamburger? To make a burger, first you need 660 gallons of water … – LA Times

    Dec 2, 2008 – Alfalfa is California’s single largest agricultural water user due to the amount grown :

    Maybe we’d be better off not growing alfalfa to produce beef, kill off the absurd ethanol mandate and let Midwest farmers sell their GMO corn for cattle feed.

  3. Jojo commented on Apr 21

    With non-farm usage at only about 20% of total H2O use here in California, even a 25% reduction is not going to amount to very much against total water use. D’oh.

    The politicians don’t want to to put restrictions on commercial H2O usage because of the money they get for their campaigns from commercial entities.

    Not only do farmers use a large amount of river H2O, they are also digging wells deeper every year, draining the groundwater and causing the land to sink in the Central Valley. Without the buffer of groundwater, future earthquakes may be much worse.

    The California reality is that unless we build viaducts (like the Romans) to bring H2O down from Oregon, Washington and Canada, we simply cannot afford to grow H2O intensive crops like alfalfa, almonds, rice, cotton and so forth here. These and similar H2O intensive crops should be made illegal to grow here.
    Almonds get roasted in debate over California water use
    April 20, 2015
    Ellen Kickmeyer The Associated Press

    SAN FRANCISCO — California almonds are becoming one of the world’s favorite snacks and creating a multibillion-dollar bonanza for agricultural investors. But the crop extracts a staggering price from the land, consuming more water than all the showering, dish-washing and other indoor household water use of California’s 39 million people.

    As California enters its fourth year of drought and imposes the first mandatory statewide water cutbacks on cities and towns, the $6.5 billion almond crop is helping drive a sharp debate about water use, agricultural interests and how both affect the state’s giant economy.

    • rd commented on Apr 21

      The days of major river diversions are over. Those locales are looking to protect their fisheries and their ecosystems. There is no way that Washington, Oregon, Canada, and the Great Lakes states are going to ship water to inefficient California. One reason is that non-agricultural industries that need water can just move to those locations to get access to the water while providing a tax base for those local communities. A second is that the energy demands to pump water over the mountains are huge.

  4. orsogrigio commented on Apr 21

    All true but … HOW much water was in this poor planet 1000 years ago ? exactly as much as 100 years ago, and, funny as April 19th,2015. One wild forecast : on April 21th, 2115 the amount of water will be THE SAME. So? H2O is really a stable thing. The point is HOW you water vegetables: a plant needs, say, 2 oz a day. If you drop a thousand gallon on the soil, it gets the still the 2 oz. So the LA Times just stated how wrong are watering systems, not how much water the food NEEDS. It’s a measure (let’s take numbers are right) of how dumb is the process, not of the water cost of the process. Water is stable: water is in no way missing, is simply misused. The ecologist bandwagon is just noise, and that’s a pity.

  5. murrayv commented on Apr 21

    Have visited vineyards in Calif that have switched to drip irrigation. Vines use 1/10th the water of conventional irrigation and are at least as healthy. Greybear’s observation is quite right.

  6. pielou commented on Apr 21

    the bandwagon noise is just the beginning of the crash, CO2 is increasing, something is missing an O somewhere.

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