Volume 6, Issue 6
“Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.”
– Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-New York)
Time and time again, activists continue to exaggerate the amount of water used by agriculture in California and blame the industry for excessive use during the drought. It’s truly unfortunate when the media simply regurgitates those misrepresentations without checking the facts, as the San Jose Mercury News did earlier this week.
The truth is that 50 percent of California’s water is devoted to the environment. Fish and aquatic wildlife use half of the state’s water, according to the Public Policy Institute of California, and this fact cannot be ignored.
Agriculture does account for the largest human use of water, relying on approximately 40 percent of the state’s water supply to grow food and fiber in America’s food basket. Growing the crops that feed a continually expanding world population is certainly among the most important human uses of water. Urban water use accounts for the remaining 10 percent of the state’s water usage.
Activists seeking to demonize agriculture have repeatedly misrepresented farm water use while conveniently ignoring water use for the environment. Especially as we enter the fourth year of drought, it is important to engage in discussions based on facts. People may certainly have differing opinions on how our state’s water resources should be used, but the facts always remain the same.