The Problems Behind the Water Crisis [Commentary]

Posted by Amy Storey on June 30, 2015

A writing team at Propublica recently outlined the problems causing the drought and how we can expect them to develop in the near future. Abrahm Lustgarten, Lauren Kirchner and Amanda Zamora establish one thing that we all know: that California's drought is severe - and one thing that too many people don't know: that a bit of rainfall (or a lot of rainfall, for that matter) is not going to fix the problems.

Not helping water scarcity is the foolish delegation of Colorado river water, which is over-promised and as a result, overdrawn. The only way to solve the crisis is to focus on understanding the problem, which actually isn't even an issue of "enough water". Depending on what you know about alternative water use techniques, you may or may not understand that there is enough water in the Western U.S. The problem is that it's being used very inefficiently.

Say you want to solve this problem and see water use tidied up in the West. Where would you even start?

The biggest culprit

You might start with the biggest users and tighten up their game first. If you started looking into it, you would find that the biggest player in water use is agriculture. Within agriculture, forage for cattle, sheep, and other livestock is responsible for about half of water use. Another water hog is cotton, which is receiving more attention, especially as people realize that cotton and other water-hogging crops are subsidized, essentially rewarding farmers for high water use.

There are several solutions that should be implemented to solve this issue. Among rethinking illogical water laws, "use it or lose it" clauses, and eating less meat, good water use should be rewarded and more efficient ag practices should be offered and incentivized.

We believe that as the West deals with this crisis, innovation in ag will flourish like it rarely does.

As the Propublica article pointed out,

"the drought is drawing out the best and worst in people."

Once you understand how water use has to change, you can begin to innovate. We believe that water use efficiency doesn't have to be a hard change, either.

This is where we come in. We create equipment that functions simply and makes life easier. It leaves room for great innovation by farmers, and we know that it can change the water use of the agricultural industry. Learn how much water we use.

Read more about the California drought

Topics: Industry

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