Why California’s Drought Should Get All of Us Thinking about Our Water Footprint

As a Californian, if I ever hear my kids singing the nursery rhyme “Rain Rain Go Away,” I’ll yell at them to stop and make them listen to a parable or fable about the need for water. Better yet, I’ll show them this gif:

California, the supplier of your favorite fruits, vegetables, and nuts, is experiencing one of the worst droughts in 500 years. How bad?  The drought is so bad that Governor Jerry Brown declared a State of Emergency in January 2014, and all along the highways traffic notification boards say “Severe drought. Conserve water.” Also, the state has implemented water restrictions that affect lawn watering, car washing, hosing down driveways and ornamental fountains and violators are susceptible to a fine of $500/day. Additionally, cities around CA have their own water restrictions in place.

To promote awareness and offer a bit of humor, San Francisco displays these sexually provocative water conservation PSAs all over the city- on busses, subway stations, and billboards:


Water is inherent in all of out favorite dishes- 42 gallons of water is used to make a slice of pizza and 317 gallons of water is used to make a bar of chocolate. Some ingredients consume water more than others. I’m not saying that we/you should stop eating specific foods, however, opting for less thirsty ingredients while CA is in a drought will help reduce your water footprint. For example, if you’re lactose intolerant and you ditched the out-of-style soy milk for the trendy almond milk (which is sucking California dry), then temporarily use your throwback until it rains again in California.

How much of our food is grown in California and how thirsty those foods are?


Whenever you open your fridge, never forget that it’s filled with this:

flickr: Tony Hisgett

flickr: Tony Hisgett

By Brian Van









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