5 ways to help cut down on California water usage

16+almonds+takes+15+gallons+of+water.+It+takes+more+water+than+expected+for+certain+foods.+Credit%3A+Jessie+Snyder%2FThe+Foothill+Dragon+Press

16 almonds takes 15 gallons of water. It takes more water than expected for certain foods. Credit: Jessie Snyder/The Foothill Dragon Press

Emma Kolesnik

California is in a drought. It’s estimated that we only have enough water for another 12-18 months. According to the California Department of Food and Agriculture, California “produces nearly half of US-grown fruits, nuts and vegetables.”

16 almonds takes 15 gallons of water. It takes more water than expected for certain foods. Credit: Jessie Snyder/The Foothill Dragon Press
16 almonds takes 15 gallons of water. It takes more water than expected for certain foods. Credit: Jessie Snyder/The Foothill Dragon Press

California is in a drought. It’s estimated that we only have enough water for another 12-18 months. According to the California Department of Food and Agriculture, California “produces nearly half of US-grown fruits, nuts and vegetables.”

We are stuck in a dilemma, because we can’t cut down our agricultural production, yet we still have to conserve water. This means that we need to find other ways to conserve. According to a New York Times graph, Ventura County Citizens need to cut down on approximately 16 percent of water use.

Many of us don’t know how we relate to the drought, and what we can do to help California. Here are five key things that all of us can do to help.

1. Realize that the drought is happening

Living in Ventura, if we look around us, nothing looks different. Nothing feels different, but something has changed. As part of the Southern California population, we are in a drought. We’re running out of water, and we cannot continue as we were. The first step to solving a problem is accepting that it’s real. California survives on agriculture, and we can’t afford to lose that. We have to admit that we all have a problem, and that changes and cutbacks are going to have to happen.  

2. Be conscious on how much water certain foods use

California is a mecca of agriculture. We can buy fruits and vegetables for cheap prices. However, not all produce is created equal. It’s good to do research on what produce and products take the least amount of water to produce. For example, it takes almost 75 gallons of water to grow a pound of avocados, and it takes 15.3 gallons to grow 16 almonds. Nuts, eggs and meat require the most amount of water. Instead of overstocking on these water-guzzling foods, try to use low water fruits and vegetables, and more grains.

3. Cut back on daily water usage 

Many everyday activities use more water than we might imagine. On average, each of us uses anywhere from 80-100 gallons of water per day. By cutting back in small areas, it’s possible to make an impact. For example, making sure when you wash laundry or dishes to always have a full load. Or making sure to check for leaky pipes and faucets on a regular basis. Small things like this can save 10 gallons of water, and that builds up.

4. Try to replace tropical yard plants with ones that can survive in a desert

California is a fairly dry place. Parts of it are even a desert, but if not told, one would never guess. Most of Southern California looks more like a rainforest then a desert because we grow tropical plants in our bright green lawns. Places like Palm Springs are covered in palm trees and golf courses. Instead of planting things in our lawns that are native to Hawaii, try to plant things that are native to deserts and California, things that don’t need gallons of water to survive.

5. Choose summer activities that don’t use fresh water

Over the summer, water parks are a popular activity. However, this summer we should all cut back. Many summer leisure activities use insane amounts of water. Now, one person not going won’t change much, but if a significant amount of people cut back, it could lead to some of the water guzzling places cutting back, or minimizing their hours. The average golf course uses 312,000 gallons of water a day. These places cutting back can have a huge effect on maximizing the amount of water we have left.

We all are going to be affected by the drought, so it is important that we do our best to help our state. By doing research and cutting back in small areas, every one of us can have an effect, and make a difference.

What do you think?