After something of a hiatus do to work obligations, I’m back. And I think I should start off my return to regular (or at least more regular) posting with a positive story.
A new report has just been issued by the Pacific Water Institute, home to Peter Gleick, a much admired voice among those concerned with water related issues.
The eponymous subject of the report is “California Farm Water Success Stories,” and its purpose is to highlight examples of farmers in California who have made significant strides to increase the efficiency of their water usage. There is even a short video that accompanies the report that you can find here.
So why do you care? You care because agriculture is far and away the single most significant consumer of potable water in United States, and the world. As a result, any increases in agriculture’s water efficiency can have a dramatic effect on water supplies. Currently this is a critical issue in California and much of the southwestern United States.
The thrust of the report is that solving California’s water shortage requires increasing the efficiency with which Californians, and particularly farmers, use water. Moreover, increasing efficiency by a significant amount (one farm estimates it reduced its water consumption by 20%) is achievable with existing technology and at a cost equivalent to or less than that required to increase supply – and without the attendant negative environmental impacts.
It is an interesting report, and reinforces the fact that there are practical solutions to water scarcity that do not require us to sacrifice the environment.