High water consumption and rising water deficits create an issue which will depend on agricultural and technological innovation in the future. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, over 80 percent of water in the America is used for agriculture purposes. Subsidized corn industries, and other agricultural producers have been lacking to lower water consumption due to relatively low cost, even with large amounts of waste.
The United States is largest producer of corn and grains in the world, so it is no surprise that agricultural water use is heights above any other area of water usage. Another flaw in the system is that a majority of crops are grown in the western part of the country. One major characteristic of this geographic area is water shortage. Californians see higher water prices than most states in America, and it is the country’s leading agricultural producer.
Almonds are a great example of the extreme water usage needed to produce crops in California. According to an Aquinas College geography professor, to produce one almond in California, it takes roughly one gallon of water.In an area of the country where neighbors bicker at each other about watering lawns or washing cars, this should raise some red flags as to how badly consumers need almonds, and if they are paying to also cover environmental damages to the area pertaining to water levels.
An argument that an environmentalist or an economist might make is to put a pigovian tax on almonds to help justify the extreme use of water to produce the good. This type of approach would be met with a lot of force, and would require more research. However, it would also create an incentive to find a more sustainable way to produce the tree nut. Moving locations or beginning to import any crop which can be created in a more environmentally friendly way could be put up for discussion.
America is becoming a service driven economy. Technology is at the forefront of any major advancement in recent times. People have the talent to create the change and limit water consumption within the agriculture industry. Before we end up like SpongeBob, let’s give out a cry for water.
Written by: Brett Sack