Despite a few recent downpours, California remains stuck in one of the most severe statewide droughts on record.

But it’s far from just California’s problem. The state produces a huge percentage of the nation’s agriculture — nearly half of all fruits, vegetables and nuts, by some estimates. And that requires a massive amount of water: farms here use about 80 percent of the state’s developed water supply.

Much is riding on the upcoming rainy season. Because if not enough water remains valuable for farmers to adequately irrigate their land, the impact will likely be felt far beyond the state’s borders.

In this audio slideshow, part of a photo essay project in the New Yorker, photographer Matt Black captures powerful images from the thirsty Central Valley, California’s breadbasket, and the farmers struggling to keep their crops alive. The excellent infographics below that, by Alex Park and Julia Lurie of Mother Jones (and re-posted with permission), give a glimpse of just how much agriculture is produced here and the amount of water required to grow it.

Final-Crop-Map_1

  • Tom Lindemann

    There are some interesting facts reported here – but some total misinformation as well. California agriculture uses about 40% of the water to to feed the world – not the 80% reported here.

    Too bad reporters aren’t held accountable for spewing total lies.

    Why California’s drought is America’s problem – Despite a few recent downpours, California remains stuck in one of the most severe statewide droughts on record. But it’s far from just California’s problem. The state produces a huge percentage of the nation’s agriculture — nearly half of all fruits, vegetables and nuts, by some estimates. And that requires a massive amount of water: farms here use about 80 percent of the state’s developed water supply. KQED report:

    http://blogs.kqed.org/lowdown/2014/11/17/why-californias-drought-is-americas-problem/

    • Delta Defender

      A report from the past from UC Davis, citing agriculture as claiming 85% of water resources. Where are your sources?

      This report also details the peripheral canal, a project rejected by California voters that was the precursor to the twin tunnels project. Now, even though Prop 1 was written per pressure to not include funding for the tunnels, it turns out that money will be used regardless for the project! Why am I not surprised.. we need to keep governments and corporations accountable for the shady dealings they are undergoing! Stop the madness.

      http://ucce.ucdavis.edu/files/repositoryfiles/ca3701p22-70808.pdf

  • faggot

    I know we need farmers to eat but we can survive without lettuce broccoli and stupid shit like that. Corn and wheat are the staples.

  • mark56868

    Run a pipeline from Portland OR to the Colorado River upstream from Lake Mead. The Columbia River pours billions and billions of gallons of fresh water into the ocean every minute of every day. Such a pipeline would be just over 1,000 miles long. We can build a LONGER Keystone Pipeline from Canada to Texas….but with so much at stake what is the problem with a pipeline from Portland Or to somewhere just east of Henderson NV..? ? ? ? Once this water runs to re fill Lake Mead…. the water then keeps Hoover Dam supplying electricity…..and water flowing to all the places now on the verge of drying up.

Author

Matthew Green

Matthew Green produces and edits The Lowdown, KQED’s multimedia news education blog, an online resource for educators and the general public. He previously taught journalism at Fremont High School in East Oakland, and has written for numerous local publications, including the Oakland Tribune and San Francisco Chronicle. Email: mgreen@kqed.org; Twitter: @KQEDlowdown

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