Search This Blog

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Visiting Congressman Jared Huffman
   By, Cate Guempel

      Congressman Jared Huffman was in the midst of a busy morning when our group arrived to speak with him. After glancing at the impact he had on the community with the many photos and newspaper articles pinned to the lobby walls, we were led to his personal office where the congressman had his recently broken ankle wrapped and propped up on his desk. We were warned that he was expecting a phone call and we may be interrupted at any time. Even with the many responsibilities that seemed to hang in the air of his busy office, he seemed very relaxed and down to Earth, while looking back now, his ankle was probably causing a substantial amount of pain and discomfort. From the many topics we grilled Huffman on, we all received thoughtful replies and standing here listening, I felt that he truly went into politics because he believes in something; I cant help but hope that he makes whatever that something, is a reality.
     Jared Huffman is a U.S. Congressman serving California's 2nd district. He speaks on many environmental issues and even has an upcoming bill, The Drought Relief and Resilience Act. According to Jared, a member of the democratic party, the people acknowledge the existence of global warming and the majority of the republican party are the ones rooted in oil companies. This may not be too far off as a recent poll suggests that 70% of Americans believe that Global Warming is real. So why is global warming still considered such a controversial issue? Whether the republican party is representing the people accurately or not, this could be what is holding back government action on the topic.

     Later, when I got my questions in, I asked his view on the subsidization of water, especially during Californias worst drought in recorded history. He took me back to 1900s when the Reclamation Act of 1902 was put into effect; essentially the act promoted moving West with the government paying for certain resources. This was the start of the water infrastructure we have today, Huffman explains. While this type of system may have had merit then, it is not what we need now. How we price our water is basically how we put a value on it and when only 3% of the worlds water is freshwater with only 1% of that accessible for human use, water is a  precious resource. This is true now more than ever, as California is reaching another year of its severe drought. Californias water is used mostly for agriculture, a whopping 80%, but how that water is used has not been valued according to the drought. We must revamp and re-incentivise our water, Jared concludes and mentions that he would do so by increasing water rates for farmers, who, for example, in the Central California Irrigation District paid $17 per acre-foot of water used in 2014.
     Beside his friendly and dedicated demeanor, Huffman impressed me that he has the drive that is needed to better this country and truly make a change. Huffman discussed how politicians can get into Congress for the wrong reasons, such as to become rich, wield power or assist corporate owners, and become corrupt into their work. Fortunately for our district, Huffman is clearly focused on the issues at hand, not on bettering his own personal fortune. We need Congressmen like Huffman to bring the beneficial changes that are needed.

Related Link:

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

When allocating water, wildlife matters: why we need to protect our natural heritage in times of drought

by Alexandra Lee

The Earthscope team was lucky enough to meet Congressman Jared Huffman, representing California’s 2nd District, in his Marin office and interview him about several issues concerning the environment. We covered a broad range of topics, from Huffman’s opinion on oil drilling in the Arctic to ways we can stop the toxic algae blooms that have started to occur off the California coast. I asked him about his year-old Drought Relief and Resilience Act - what it’s main goals are and why California needs it.
    Before getting into what the bill consists of, Huffman talked about how the pumping of water in the San Joaquin Delta affects the endangered salmon and other species of marine life that reside there. He also explained how in times of drought these species need water to survive. While we usually think of how water shortages affect humans, they have terrible consequences for the animals living near our water sources. The San Joaquin Delta water extraction systems are managed by large pumps, according to Huffman, and draw water out of the delta and across California, mainly for drinking water and agriculture use. In times of drought, the water pumping is limited because it will reverse the current of water necessary for salmon and other fish to make it to the bay. Although these endangered species are federally protected in the Delta, many people are advocating for increased pumping in times of drought to extract it for human use even though it could completely wipe out other species. While it’s true that farmers need this water for their crops and millions of humans rely on this water to drink, pumping at full capability during water shortages has the potential to cause the extinction of or severely reduce the population of the endangered salmon and fish populations in the San Joaquin Delta.
Image result for san jouqin delta
    Huffman then went on to explain how his bill would address this issue, as well as several other issues concerning the drought. This is a very important issue to be aware of, as salmon are crucial to the survival of several habitats and ecosystems throughout California. We don’t need to protect salmon just to save salmon, we need to protect them to preserve all of the wildlife systems that depend on them. Without these ecosystems, we will surely see a decline in the health and productivity of naturally occurring rivers and forests, which would impact humans as well as animals. Thanks to Jared Huffman for introducing this issue to Earthscope, as well as the several other environmental issues he mentioned to our team.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Congressmen Jared Huffman: A Dedicated Public Servant and Community Leader

By Maggie Alves

On July 18th, 2016, the Earthscope Media team had the privilege of interviewing Congressman Jared Huffman at his local office in San Rafael. Huffman represents over 700,000 people in California’s second district, the northwest portion of California, ranging from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Oregon border. Huffman is a member of the Committee on Natural Resources and the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. Huffman is an avid community member and an outspoken environmentalist. He works tirelessly to protect the environment and advocate for new important legislation. Despite his busy schedule, he loves connecting with his community, particularly the youth, and was kind enough to devote an hour to our group.
After assembling in front of the building to review our questions, we entered through the large front doors. The waiting room was filled with flags, certificates, legal papers, and framed photos, including one of him with Obama. Once in his office, it didn’t feel like I was standing in the office of a respected political figure. The office perfectly reflected his personality; fishing and family photos covered the walls, there was a UCSB Sports Hall of Fame plaque for men’s volleyball, and official documents. Seeing a face in person that I have learned so much about in school was a surreal experience. His staff were incredibly friendly and accommodated to all nine of us being in a small space. Huffman addressed each of our questions thoroughly and made sure he clarified all his statements.

The issue I asked Huffman about regarded his own bill: The Drought Relief and Resilience Act of 2015. This was the first bill he ever asked for public input on. The “crowdsourced” bill received thousands of comments from the public, many of which were inputted in the bill. The bill has not been voted on, but would be a huge stride to combating the drought. Huffman states, “My bill provides emergency funding to stretch existing water supplies: deploying efficient irrigation technology, drilling wells, and building pipelines.” It also plans to quickly upgrade treatment facilities, repair leaking infrastructure, improve urban and agricultural water use efficiency, improve desalination technology and water recycling, recharge and clean depleted groundwater aquifers, and better manage headwater forests and watersheds. To learn more about the bill, visit

At the end of the forty-minute interview, we asked about what it was like to be in politics. Huffman explained it was the same as any other job; some things he loved, and others he did not. Everyone is politics is there because at some point they were extremely passionate about something. To me, the most remarkable part of the experience was seeing how down to earth and humble he was. He conducted himself professionally, shook all of our hands, and gave each question thorough and in-depth responses; you could tell he didn’t think of himself above anyone. Politics is not meant for people who only want their names in headlines; it’s meant for people who are passionate and will work hard to see the changes they want in government. I feel so lucky to be represented in politics by someone who cares and reflects the interests of the community.  

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Congressman Jared Huffman Says Now is the Time for People to Vote for Candidates that Will help Prevent and Reverse Climate Change

By Julian Brastow

Today, global climate change is a huge threat to our world’s future, and will continue to result in global disasters until we do something about it. Earthscope’s recent meeting and interview with Congressman Jared Huffman revealed what needs to happen at a political level to reduce the effects of climate change.

The visit consisted of the Earthscope Media interns crowded into Huffman’s office asking researched questions on current environmental issues. Despite having a broken ankle, Huffman had the time to thoroughly answer these questions and express his important opinions on topics ranging from water sustainability and alternative energy sources, to his concern over the toxic algae blooms occurring off the California Coast.

One thing that stood out to me during the interview was what he said about climate change and politics. While talking about climate change and what we need to do about it, he stated that because most Americans believe climate change is happening, Congress needs to start creating laws that will help fight it. But the reality is that the Republican majority in Congress is preventing these bills from taking shape, and right now the only action that’s being taken at the federal level is coming from President Obama, which is not nearly enough response that needs to happen, since the President has limited authority to make these needed changes. Huffman also indicated that an important committee comprised of Republicans and Business Leaders, that should be involved in addressing and reversing climate change, is instead meeting in order to seek ways to gain profit by taking advantage of resources that are becoming available in the Arctic due to melting ice caps.

Upon further research, I also discovered that 59% of Republican voters believe global climate change is occurring, but only 44% of Republicans in Congress believe this. This political misrepresentation must be addressed, and it is only when we have politicians willing and able to make the changes to protect the planet and our environment, will we be able to solve climate change.

Huffman’s main point was that in the end, to do something about climate change, we must elect politicians that will take action  and tip the balance of Congress to represent the opinion of the people. Only then will we be able to pass laws in order to help effectively protect our earth.


Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Fracking Pumps 40,000 Gallons of Chemicals into the Earth

                   By, Cate Guempel

California uses around 38 million gallons of water a year, according to the 2010 U.S. Geological Survey. So where is California finding this water in such a severe drought? With the large amount of water that we take why are we supporting the fracking industry that polluted our limited water and is not even sustainable. With the short economic booms people associate with fracking, there is always a drastic drop in jobs and the economy when all of the fracking sites have been used up. From the few temporary benefits, it will never be worth the pollution to our aquifers that can't be taken back.
     Snowpacks, aquifers, lakes, and rivers are how California and most of the country has access to water. Southern California receives 95% of their water from the Sierra Nevada snowpack, which, overall, provides the state with a third of its water; the Colorado River is another large water source for California.
Fracking has become a huge industry in California since the 1990’s. It consists of using a high pressure water mixer to drill into the earth and release natural gas. During the process, sand and chemicals are injected with the water; this results in pollution of surrounding geography. The chemicals remain in the earth, killing plants, animals, and contaminating water sources. A standard fracking well produces the equivalent of 3 to 10 Olympic-sized swimming pools of contaminated wastewater, which is pumped into deep wells for disposal. It was found that around 40,000 gallons of chemicals are used per fracturing; over 600 chemicals, including lead, uranium, mercury, and hydrochloric acid, are sent and left in the ground. Per gas well, fracking companies use up to 8 million gallons of water. With the 500,000 current gas well in the U.S. and understanding that a single well can be fracked 18 times, it would take 72 trillion gallons of water to harvest or 160 billion gallons using only California’s wells. Fracking has also been found to be the source of many minor earthquakes near fracking wells.
With California in its 5th year of severe drought, it can seem surprising that such damaging industries are only growing. This could be because of the economic benefits reaped from this process. The fracking industry has saved the U.S. $103 billion a year in purchasing natural gas and has created thousands of jobs. Fracking companies have assured the public that the process is safe and beneficial but will not release the specific chemicals they are releasing into the environment on legal grounds of it being a patented trade secret. But when methane concentrations are 17 times higher in water wells near fracking sites then compared to normal wells, it seems fracking is far from safe.
Fracking is continuing to cause great damage to the Earth and California in its drought. Many countries have begun to ban fracking, including Germany, Northern Ireland, France and Bulgaria. Even though fracking has brought benefits, such as economic growth and extra jobs, in the long term future, it harms more than helps. There is enough research and factual evidence to suggest many severe side effects caused by fracking; this leaves a fracking ban in the U.S. as a very plausible and necessary solution. More research into what chemicals are being pumped into the ground, the earthquakes surrounding fracking sites, and how the overall process affects nearby ecosystems before fracking should be allowed to continue.
Less than 3% of the world’s water is freshwater. Desalinization is proven to be inefficient, harmful, and expensive leaving the world with a limited amount of water to sustainably use. The Sierra Nevadas provide most of California’s water but they are not being protected. Too much water is being taken before it is naturally replenished. Drying up one of our main water sources is an inevitable disaster. Large rivers have been showing decreasing water levels but the state’s thirst for water has remained. Even with less and less water available, water is still being taken in innappropriate amounts.
Our water is precious and vital to human life. From the 3% of freshwater on Earth, only  1% is available and accessible to humans. Lake Shasta has dropped almost 30% capacity from 2011; lakes, rivers and aquifers are only diminishing and humans are the cause. Global warming, another human caused issue, has contributed to the decreased water levels, but water sources are being polluted, destroyed, and depleted by humans everyday. The Ogallala was one of the largest aquifers in the United States, but from human influences, it has fallen drastically in depth. Aquifers gather their water from rain and runoff water seeping through porous rock layers underground. This process allows the aquifer to naturally replenish itself, but if is not sustainably sourced, and completely depleted, it is estimated to take 6,000 years to fully replenish to its natural state. Some specialists even calculate the Ogallala complete depletion by 2028. This aquifer supplies water to 82% of people in the High Plains and would drastically impact life. This aquifer is one of many decreasing water sources in the U.S. and California.

California’s record breaking drought is a sign of a much deeper issue: improper water management. Residents are being restricted to some sorts due to the drought, but there seems to be a bigger elephant in the room that's begging to be addressed. Agriculture accounts for 70% of the world’s fresh water usage and California’s agriculture industry uses 80% of the state's water but how are farmers actually being restricted? A common farming technique involves spraying water into the air and letting gravity water the crops. Using this technique, a huge majority of the water ends up evaporating into the atmosphere and being wasted. Watering more efficiently, with micro- or drip irrigation, for example, instead of flood irrigation, could reduce agricultural use by 15 or 20% but needs to be promoted and enforced by the government.

Related sites:

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Lack of Snowfall on Sierra Nevada and Cascades Mountains made our surface reservoirs thirsty but capturing early runoff can be a solution.

                                                                                                    -Harpreet Kaur 

As most of the parts of the world, California too relies on the natural source of water, snow, and rainfall. Snow packs on the Sierra Nevada and Mountain ranges provide 30% of fresh water to the California which melts gradually, releasing water down rivers and into the reservoirs. They refill the streams through the dry summer in this semi-arid region.

2016 snow pack on Sierra Nevada mountains relieved the Californians, thanks to El Nino. El Nino is the phenomenon where trade winds are weaker and pull less warm waters to the Western Pacific, which raises temperatures in eastern pacific and decreases the temperature in western pacific. There is the counter partner of the El Nino known as La Nina, which is opposite of the El Nino. La Nina brings the drier months.

Last year and 2014 was the driest years. The rising temperature in the Sierra Nevada and the Cascades becomes too warms for the snow. Rising temperatures and winter storms becoming infrequent causing more rain and less snow. As a result, the snow didn't refill the summer water supplies. Groundwater and aquifers are shrinking.
This year snow pack saved California getting into deep droughts. But it may not last longer. Global warming is reducing the California’s snow packs by causing it melt earlier in the year and causing heavy rain. “We’re already seeing some of the expected changes to our rain and snowfall patterns; we’re already seeing that we’re getting earlier runoff,” said  Lien-Mager, a spokeswoman for the Association of California Water Agencies.
“That flips our system on its end,” she said. “It was all designed to capture gradual runoff from snow melt. If we’re moving away from that kind of pattern, then we may be getting too much runoff at a certain time, and we won’t necessarily be able to capture it all.”

Dr. Roger C. Bales, a professor at the University of California, Merced said: “Historically, ponderosa pine at the Sierra Nevada has been the reliable show zone, where it accumulates till late March or early April and then melts.” But now the snow pack here is more like that at lower elevations “where it will accumulate, melt accumulate, melt.” Similar Effects of Climate have been seen throughout the Sierra, including at the Central Sierra Snow Laboratory, which is operated by U.C. Berkeley. They make measurements the way the lab started in the 1940s, by inserting special metal tubes into the snow.“We are seeing an ever increasing percentage of the annual and winter precipitation in liquid rather than solid form.” said Randall Osterhuber.

According to Erin Stacey, a scientist with Sierra Nevada research Institute. “The snow pack acts as a reservoir for us, and if we don’t have that reservoir, then we need to find some way to store more water or to use less water.” Measurements done by sensors around the continental United States showed that average snowpack has to decrease as the temperature is rising.

The solution to it is California’s natural aquifers provide a space where that runoff can be stashed until it's needed. Aquifers can be recharged by pumping water into them, or by allowing water to seep into them.“In an ideal world, that large reservoir of water would be available during bad times,” Williams a bio climatology at Columbia University  said. “You could draw down on that when times are really bad, and then when times are really good you can replace it again.”  

Researchers at Stanford have shown that California’s natural aquifers offer cheaper options for boosting water storage capacity than expanding or building above-ground reservoirs. Storing water in aquifers was also shown to be cheaper than desalting and filtering sea water.
But how can we fill the Aquifers? As the city of Fresno is taking an approach in trying to boost their underground supply. When water is present in the reservoirs, it is diverted through small canals to a spreading pond known as leaky acres, where the water seeps down to the aquifers. It is a way to replenish our aquifers. According to the Ken Heard, a chief of the water operations for the city’s public utility department, “Now with the prospect of prolonged or more frequent droughts, we may not be able to do that as much, which means we’ll have to continue using the wells,”

As Heard said this may not help much but it is one of the ways we can preserve the off season melting of the snow and replenish our thirsty aquifers and surface water bodies. These all are the outcomes of the global warming, we should also focus on taking initiatives to reduce global warming.Even small steps like taking transit, riding a bicycle or walking small distances than driving a car not cutting driving completely, planting more trees and lot other small changes in our daily life can make a difference.     

But for bigger steps we should support Carbon fee, which is imposing fees for use of the fossil fuels and shift our company's attention to green energy, using more renewable energy source like solar, the wind, and geothermal energy. Geothermal energy can only be harnessed in places which are active. These are the clean energy and produce less or no waste which is not harmful.   
So collective effort in reducing global warming and capturing runoffs water into the reservoirs and aquifers can solve our problems and relieve the depleting water in major rivers of the country like Colorado river.

Agriculture Industy Crucial to Solving CA's Water Crisis

by Alexandra Lee
According to this chart from, agriculture uses
the majority of water in almost every sector in the world.
As it is well known, our state of California is facing a major ongoing drought that has had consequences for millions of people living inside and outside its borders. With the drier climate comes less rain and snowfall, so there has been an extreme shortage of water in a time when it seems like we need ever-more of it. Water has endless uses, from running in our sinks to providing the means for our food to grow, and having less of this invaluable resource impacts all of us. The largest user of California’s developed water is the agriculture business, but it also seems to be one of the biggest wasters of our precious supply.
California’s agriculture industry is the largest in the country, and it feeds millions of Americans with its wide variety of crops and produce. Needless to say, this agricultural industry, nicknamed the “breadbasket of America,” is essential in making our country run and fuels people in their everyday. However, the unfortunate side of California’s agriculture system is that it uses up about 80% of our water - and wastes a substantial amount of it.
It’s understandable that the agriculture industry needs so much water, as all crops need water to grow and they are produced in vast quantities to be shipped throughout the rest of the country. However, significant amounts of water used in the industry are unintentionally wasted, adding to our ever-growing crisis. This is mainly due to a lack of sustainable agriculture, which includes inefficient irrigation systems and the cultivation of thirsty, foreign crops.
One way that the agriculture system could improve its wasteful watering systems is to take out old, inefficient modes of mass water distribution and replace them with better options, such as drip-irrigation systems. These systems use small amounts of water, remain intact for years, and deliver water right to the root of the plant as to reduce the amount of water used to grow plants. Old systems, such as irrigation ditches and sprinklers, use up large quantities of water and allow some of it to evaporate or be lost to the wind before ever reaching the plants. Therefore, systems such as drip-irrigation are a much better option for farmers and for California, as they conserve water and save money.
Farmers could also cut back on growing extremely water-thirsty crops such as walnuts, cotton, sugar, and rice to conserve more water - or up the prices on these items. Just one walnut takes about 5 gallons of water to grow, and just one head of broccoli uses almost 5.5 gallons. While foods such as these can be popular on the market, they are greatly worsening the issue of water in California, and there should be raised prices on them in order to conserve more water for our state. However, some farmers are taking steps to having more sustainable farms.
Another part of the agriculture industry that uses enormous amounts of water is the meat packing industry. Few people seem to be aware of the amount of water that goes into producing the food they eat, let alone the meat they eat. The average American eats about 167 pounds of meat each year, according to It takes about 1,800 to 2,400 gallons of water to produce one pound of meat. And, there are around 320 million Americans. So, this all means that it takes about 96 trillion gallons of water to feed Americans their meat each year. Keep in mind, this is only one part of the agricultural industry - take into account all of the water used to grow crops in the Central Valley, and the agriculture industry is using incredible amounts of water, some of which is wasted or isn't necessary in the first place. A solution to the amount of water used up on our meat could be to raise prices, just as with the produce mentioned before. At McDonald’s, it currently costs $3.79 to buy a quarter-pounder burger with cheese. Divide 1,800 gallons of water by 4, and that patty used at least 450 gallons of water to produce - and cost less than $4. According to Business Insider, bottled water costs an average of $1.22 per gallon, so if somebody were to buy the 450 gallons of water used to produce one quarter-pound burger, it would cost them $549. This huge gap between prices means that many people aren’t considering the amazing amounts of water that is indirectly used to produce their food.
There are several issues surrounding the usage of California’s scarce water, but the agricultural industry is surely one participant in worsening the situation. There are many ways that the industry could improve its water-swallowing methods in order to conserve more for our state, and they should start with converting to more efficient irrigation systems and converting to less thirsty crops. Also, Americans can work together to reduce their meat intake, or prices can be raised on the cheap meat that’s readily available to consumers. While the agricultural industry is not to blame for the ongoing drought or shortage of water, it can surely cut back its impact on the California water crisis.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Secret Behind the Agriculture Industry

By Maggie Alves

For the past five years, California has been in a state of severe drought. On January 17th, 2014, Governor Jerry Brown declared the drought a state of emergency. This statewide affair turned thousands of heads and demanded immediate action. However, despite images and articles on the news, whenever a sink is turned on, water pours out the same as always. This disconnection prevents many Californians from seeing and properly addressing the issue. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the average American uses 100 gallons of water per day. Water is a necessity, yet something we constantly take for granted. If California does not make serious adjustments, the situation will only decline.  

California is the agricultural powerhouse of the United States, with over 200 unique crops. The 76,400 farms and ranches generated approximately $54 billion from their products in 2014. According to the California Department of Food and Agriculture, in the same year almonds alone generated 5.9 billion dollars, making it California's second most valued commodity. The importance of this industry is no question, however the profits don’t come without a cost. Crops grown in California, such as almonds, require an extensive amount of water. Approximately 70-80% of California’s water goes to agriculture. Wasteful irrigation techniques and other flawed systems mean that out of the millions of gallons put in, only a fraction are used. With the large majority of water being isolated to the agriculture industry, many researchers and politicians are realizing that the most effective approach to conserve water may come there.

With the rise of drought awareness, new strides have been made to assist the cause. This includes new bills introduced and passed, water restrictions imposed, new technologies developed, and communities modifying their routines. Whether it is installing a system to collect and reuse grey water, or shortening showers, every bit helps. The city of Sacramento has imposed a strict watering schedule, permitting residents to water their lawns only on specific days and times. Communities across California have developed notable ways to conserve and have severely cut down their water use. However, even if everyone did their part, only a small amount of water would be saved.

When examining the most effective ways to conserve, there is one place that severely needs attention: the agriculture industry. Growing crops that require less water, using more precise irrigation or alternative methods such as collecting rainwater, recycling runoff or treating wastewater are all methods that have been proposed for farmers. Using water flow meters can help measure and control the amount of water being used in irrigation. Implementing new methods can be expensive, but government subsidies for these technologies would provide economic incentives for the farmers and there is no question that they are worth it in the long run. Many farmers have watering schedules that are not dependent on weather, so adjusting watering to fit natural precipitation will also decrease water use. Farmers must be willing to make both small and large adjustments if they want pull California out of this fragile state.

Perhaps the most shocking statistics about the industry come from a surprising place: meat. According to the United States Geological Survey, in one beef (¼ pound) burger, 460 gallons of water are used. That is over 1,800 gallons per pound of beef. Although sources vary in number, all report the average male cow weighs around 1,700 lbs. Through simple calculations, it can be determined that if every part of the cow is used for meat, over three million gallons of water would be used per cow. The average American eats 167 pounds of meat a year. There are approximately 320 million people in the United States. That calculates to 53 billion pounds of meat consumed each year. To provide all that meat, 96 trillion gallons of water is used, which is ten times the amount of megabytes of mobile data everyone in the United States used last year put together.     

Water is an asset that is extremely underpriced. Those 460 gallons of water is equal to two dollars at your local McDonald’s. Since water is so cheap, people don’t think twice about using it. When you leave the sink running while brushing your teeth, you don’t think you are literally pouring money down the drain, because you barely are. The same goes for farmers. Farmers use billions of gallons a year with only a relatively small price to pay. If the price of water were to rise, people’s attention to their water use would surge. This raise in cost would affect the places that use the most water, namely, agriculture. If the reality of an ever-shrinking water supply is left alone, eventually the true cost of water will emerge.

You may wonder, if solutions to many of the issues of the drought are already defined, why have they not been done already? The answer isn’t simple. Farmers make major profit off many of the crops/products that use a great deal of water. Tomatoes, almonds and bananas are some examples of crops that require significantly more water than crops such as olives or grapes. However, the demand for tomatoes isn’t decreasing, and farmers make over 1.5 billion a year growing them, so why stop? Agriculture is clearly a major asset, and getting farmers to change their ways is both difficult and expensive.

This historic California drought is not an issue that can fix itself. The agriculture industry is at the heart of the problem, but is also the majority of the solution. When the drought is discussed, this industry is often left out of conversation. It is important to address the easier, more personal fixes, but even more important to address where most of our water is going. California’s water will continue to disappear if great efforts are not made to save water through agriculture. There is no doubt; the key solutions lie within the agriculture industry.