Education & Outreach
EcoBeat Staff – Droughts have been in the news a lot lately, striking everywhere from California, to Brazil, North Korea, and Thailand. A number of these droughts are the worst in recent memory. Yet, with the recent headlines accusing actor Tom Selleck of stealing water in California to grow avocados, it only feels right to ask the question: how much water does it take to grow an avocado? Or better yet, how much water do you use per day anyways?
In response to that first question, Mother Jones did a report back in 2014 that found Californian farmers use an average of 74.1 gallons, that is 592.8 lbs of water, per 1 lb of avocado. To put that in perspective, the USDA put out a study that said avocado consumption has increased from 1.1 lb per capita in 1999 to 4.3 lbs per capita in 2011. Granted, that does not even come close to the 2,500 gallons or more of water required per pound of beef, which is expected to grow in demand between now and 2021.
Bringing this whole agricultural dilemma into perspective is essential for addressing the long-term water security of the United States. Discover how much water you use on a daily, weekly, and annual basis by check out this water use calculator.
Your water consumption on an annual basis will likely surprise you; however, it is important to realize that this impact pales in comparison to the stress agriculture and livestock puts on our water supply. In other words, what you eat can mean much more than the length of your shower. Even while it is essential that individuals take responsibility for limiting their water consumption in all aspects of life, it is perhaps more important that our farming industry manage the water supply more sustainably.