Should we stop consuming water-intensive foods from California?

“The average American consumes more than 300 gallons of California water each week by eating food that was produced there,” reports the New York Times.

Today’s Question: Should we stop consuming water-intensive foods from California?

  • Gary F
  • John

    One thing not to do is pipe water from Lake Superior to the Colorado River near its source. That’s been suggested, but probably isn’t economically feasible. Lake Superior actually has a small watershed and takes a long time to recharge. It has less and less ice cover in the winter so there is more evaporation.

    • lindblomeagles

      You’re absolutely correct John about Lake Superior. A decade ago, Duluth and the State of Minnesota was so worried about Superior’s drying, that they wondered if the barges could make it in and out of Duluth Harbor. Moreover John, this water problem was at least a 100 years in the making. The Colorado River has been in jeopardy of drying out itself. We divert 90% of its water in the U.S. alone to furnish irrigation and municipal water supplies for almost 40 million people both inside and outside its watershed. Intensive water consumption has dried the lower 100 miles (160 km) of the river such that it has not consistently reached the sea AS IT IS SUPPOSED TO since the 1960s. Early Indian societies are believed to have died out because of a combination of severe drought along the Colorado River and poor land use practices, which, it appears, we Americans haven’t learned either.

  • PaulJ

    We’ll stop consuming when they raise the price high enough to reflect the true cost of water in California. Isn’t a market economy good for that sort of thing?

    • lindblomeagles

      In theory Paul; only in theory. In reality, enormous, multi-billion industries lobby the federal, state, and sometimes local government to FIX the market and reduce competition from other marketers. Thus, you won’t see prices rise as long as the three branches of government, Department of Agriculture, California, and city leaders, continue to construct ways to absolve farmers of water conservation methods.

      • John Dilligaf

        You mean these three?

  • lindblomeagles

    I don’t think we have a choice. It will be suggested that this drought will eventually go away, but should another drought come along, the United States is back in the same predicament. Not to mention California’s population, and the rest of the region, will be larger too, due to births, relocations, and immigration, making the next drought a major catastrophe.

    • John Dilligaf

      This one is a catastrophe because they didn’t follow through on the previous plans to capture and store fresh water from additional sources. Please follow GaryF’s link below (or above, depending on how you sort your comments.)

  • Rich in Duluth

    Yes, we should limit our consumption of these foods. There are alternatives to year-round fresh produce, such as eating, in season, locally produced fruits and vegetables and frozen and canned produce out of season.

    It would be great if Americans, in general, paid enough attention to this environmental issue to voluntarily cut their consumption of West Coast produce to match the available water. However, I doubt that can happen without some government intervention, which would be unpopular due to the economic impact on producers. I think that as long as the cost to the consumer of this produce is kept artificially low by not including the true cost of the water, this problem will persist.