The California Drought

California is now in the fourth year of a record drought. We should all be thinking about what we can do to save water; however, there isn’t much I can do. Years ago, I replaced all the 5 gallon flush toilets in my rentals with 1.6 or 1.2 gallon high efficiency toilets. I replaced all the showerheads with low flow showerheads. Most of the trees and plants at my properties get no irrigation. The ones that are on irrigation are native and dry climate varieties.

I think that eventually this state will have to have to be a showdown with the farm lobby over water use. California farms consume 80% of the state’s surface water, but they account for only 2% of the state’s GDP. Even worse, there has been a huge increase over the past 20 years in the planting of very thirsty crops like almonds and walnuts. Incredible as it may sound, it takes over 1 gallon of water to grow 1 almond, and it takes 5 gallons of water to grow 1 walnut. It seems ridiculous to me for growers to be increasing the planting of walnut and almond trees during a drought, but that is what is happening. California nut growers have a very well financed and powerful lobby in Sacramento.