The agriculture industry in California accounts for 80 percent of the state’s total water use, so when Governor Jerry Brown’s recent mandatory water restrictions didn’t include farmers, he got a lot of flak.
No one disputes that growing crops is very water intensive, but when some media outlets, including Mother Jones and the the Los Angeles Times, published charts and reports on how much water it takes to grow various crops, it drew additional attention to farming’s use of water.
A number of farmers Here & Now spoke with refute these reports, including the widely posted claim that it takes 1.1 gallons of water to grow one almond. We decided to turn to Joshua Viers, an ecological engineer and water resource management expert, to see what he had to say on the matter.
Viers told host Jeremy Hobson that how much water almonds use is complex and dependent on topography, geography, soil nutrients and irrigation.
- Joshua Viers, ecological engineer and director of CITRIS at the University of California, Merced. He’s also the new director of University of California Water Security and Sustainability Research Initiative.