FEW REALIZE THAT MEAT AND DAIRY PRODUCTION DEVOUR A FULL 47% OF THE STATE’S WATER
By Karen Rubio
No one can deny that we’re in the mother of all megadroughts.
The seven hottest years on record have happened in the last seven years. The U.S. Drought Monitor just reported that 93% of California, including the Bay Area, is in severe drought and 35% is in extreme drought. Last year, dangerous heat killed hundreds of people in Oregon and Washington and nearly buckled California’s power grid. Federal forecasters say that this year conditions will worsen in California and the West with hotter-than-normal temperatures and little chance of rain.
So, where is our water going? In the midst of the turmoil over our diminishing water supply, an often-overlooked industry operates without scrutiny — consuming the lion’s share of California’s diminishing water, churning out massive amounts of greenhouse gas emissions and polluting our environment with impunity.
Few realize that meat and dairy production devour a full 47% of California’s water, their huge water footprints due to the amount of water-intensive feed required to raise the animals. In fact, the largest water-consuming crop in California is the alfalfa grown to feed animals. The third largest? Irrigated pasture — again, for animals.
Read the complete article in The Mercury News.