"As drought and climate change continue to wreak havoc on California’s water supply, an environmental advocacy group is calling on the state to limit the cultivation of thirsty crops like almonds and alfalfa, saying the agriculture industry is guzzling most of the state’s supplies at the expense of residents.
Large agribusinesses and factory farms — as well as oil and gas operators — are among the biggest water users in the state and should therefore be making greater sacrifices, argues a report by the nonprofit Food and Water Watch. The group is demanding that Gov. Gavin Newsom develop new water policies that stop the expansion of agriculture and fossil fuel industries, while making good on the state’s promise to provide clean, safe and affordable water to all residents.
“California needs to make fundamental reconsiderations and changes to our water infrastructure, and the governor currently has the authority to act immediately,” said Chirag Bhakta, the organization’s California director. “California is mired in long-term drought right now, and even though this is the case, the state still misuses billions and billions of gallons of water that go to the fossil fuel and big agricultural sectors.”"
Dorany Pineda and Hayley Smith report for the Los Angeles Times February 1, 2023.