Your Contribution to the California Drought
By Larry Buchanan, Josh Keller, and Haiyan Park
25th September 2016
The average American consumes 300 gallons of California water each week by eating food that was produced there. The farmers of California produce more than a third of America’s vegetables and two-thirds of its fruits and nuts. To make this possible, the farmers have to use up to 80 percent of the water in the state of California. This is probably one of the biggest factors of the California drought and to alter that, all American’s may have to give something up. This could be best understood by some numbers and figures from the California Department of water resources.
It requires 15.1 gallons of water to grow two ounces of rice, 15.3 gallons of water to grow 16 almonds and 18 gallons to have one egg. Most of the water consumption in the U.S. is a result of eating meat and dairy products, primarily because a lot of water is used to grow the crops and feed the animals. Taking this into account, most states don’t import water from California, but they import vegetables and dairy products.
The water drought in California is also caused by data centers, as water is one of the two major resources data centers consume. The generation of electricity requires a large amount of water to be stored in reservoirs and data centers consume energy heavily. The data centers account for almost two percent of U.S. electricity consumption. While data centers don’t consume water directly, but because of electricity consumption, it seems that they are one of the major consumers of water because seventeen percent of California’s water is stored for electricity purposes.
As the technology grows day by day, energy trends in data centers built by internet and cloud giants like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Amazon constitute a bigger and bigger portion of total data center capacity, they will be responsible for a progressively bigger portion of the industry’s total water consumption. As younger generations evolve, the use of mobile phones, tablets and computers is on its peak and to run those machines, the electricity is needed and that’s where the water comes into play. Since most of the tech giants are located in California, it is the only state that is highly affected by water droughts constantly. But in recent years, California has seen an increase in water supply and the government hopes that California will soon be the state without water drought and an ample amount of water in reservoirs.