As the drought in California veers towards the danger zone, it seems that Californians have taken to tattling on their neighbors for excessive use of water on their lawns and gardens. We know Californians mean business when their landscaping is at stake. So if we Californians are ready to rat out their neighbors for leaving the sprinkler on too long, we should also consider tattling whenever we see someone eat a burger. Or a ham sandwich. Or even a cheese sandwich. Why? Because every burger costs 660 gallons of water to land on your plate or in your fast food take out bag. That’s the equivalent of two months’ worth of showers consumed in just the amount of time it takes you to eat lunch. And if you had cheese on that burger, be sure to add 175 gallons to your running total. According to an article published on Prison Planet, the status of water has gotten so dire that a fourth generation rice farmer in northern California reports fearing his water rights will simply “be taken” if he does not cooperate. And by cooperate, he means sell—sell the water rights and the water itself to the cities who need it—as if it were “liquid gold.” Prison Planet states, “According to these farmers, there is virtually no upper limit on what people will pay for water when they really need it.”
Prison Planet ends with an ominous, “There is no short term plan for recovering from California’s water crisis, and the stakes will only get higher until a solution is found.”
The best possible solution, which costs nothing more than choosing one product over another while ambling down the Whole Foods aisle, is known as veganism. Simply by eschewing all animal products in favor of plant foods you can save about 1,100 gallons of water per day.
In a recent meme created from the environmental expose on animal agriculture, “Cowspiracy,” we learned that “21% of US dairy production comes from California. The average dairy cow uses 4,954 gallons of water every day. There are 1.8 million dairy cows in California. The California dairy industry uses 8.9 billion gallons of water per day.”
And those numbers don’t even come close to reflecting the water used by hog, chicken, turkey and egg industries in California.
So next time you see your neighbor firing up the BBQ with some sausages, cheese slices, and “grass-fed” burgers, please call California Department of Water Resources: (916) 653-5791. Ask the receptionist for Mark Cowin, Director, Dept. of Water Resources, and let him know you’re witnessing an excessive, reckless use of water in your neighbor’s backyard. You can also write to Mr. Cowin at: California Department of Water Resources P.O. Box 942836, Room 1115-1 Sacramento, CA 94236-0001