Central Valley farmers suck the life out of our planet

NASA satellites show exactly how much water farmers in California’s Central Valley are using. These farmers must divert water from natural sources such as riparian ecosystems, or drain underground aquifers to irrigate their crops. This is because the farmers choose to grow high water-use crops such as asparagus, soy beans, apricots, almonds, cotton, tomatoes, and grapes. As a result of this, the farmers are forced to constantly look for more sources of water.
By implementing “Smart Farming” practices, farmers in the Central Valley could potentially reduce irrigation water use by a significant portion. For example, orange trees need up to 200 gallons of water per week during summer. Tomatoes, on the other hand, require about 50 gallons of water per week. Grapes and berries require approximately one quarter as much water as tomatoes.
If farmers implement smart farming techniques, than they could save up to 5.25 million acre-feet per year. This would drastically lessen the effects of California’s drought. To put this into perspective, the average American uses about 150 gallons per day. This is equal to about one half to one acre-foot per year of water. If the farmers in the Central Valley implemented smart farming techniques, they could save enough water for Los Angeles for almost one and a half years.
Read more about this topic at: http://www.csmonitor.com/Environment/2010/0104/California-s-groundwater-shrinking-because-of-agricultural-use
Brian O’Neill


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