From steak to mangoes, California’s most water-hogging foods

How much water is needed to produce certain foods?

Source of this article: The Los Angeles Time, April 4, 2015, and online April 6, 2015

California’s crippling drought has prompted conservation efforts, from replacing lawns to minding how long you leave the tap water running. But what about what you eat? Agriculture uses 80% of California’s water supply, and producing the food on your plate can require a surprising amount of water.

In particular, there has been much debate recently about the growing of almonds in the Central Valley.

Almonds are especially thirsty in the southern San Joaquin. But there’s a lucrative overseas market for them so growers have been planting more and more trees. Basically, one almond requires a gallon of water to produce,”¬†wrote Times columnist George Skelton.

But almonds are far from the only thirsty foods. Others include beef, pork, lamb, chickpeas, lentils, peas, goat, mangoes and asparagus.

Less thirsty crops? Cabbage, strawberries, onions, lettuce, carrots, eggplant, grapefruit and tomatoes.

How much water to produce your food? According to the Water Footprint Network, a Dutch nonprofit research group, proteins take considerably more water to produce than most fruits and vegetables. The selected foods below provide a representative example based on common diets.
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