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Thread: Tier 1 Water Shortage for SW appears inevitable

  1. Top | #81
    Fair dinkum thinkum bilby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by barbos View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by bleubird View Post
    It takes 1900 gallons of water to grow ONE pound of almonds! It takes about 10 gallons to grow one pound of strawberries. California ag uses 80% of the water.
    10 gallons per one pound of strawberries sounds reasonable. But 1900 gallons for almonds? Wikipedia says almond tree is fine with droughts (it's native to Iran)
    The nuts are a much smaller fraction of the plant though. So you likely don't get many kg of nuts per sq.m of foliage, where strawberries would have a much higher mass of fruit per leaf sq.m. And leaf area is a big determinant of water use, even though transpiration per sq.m varies significantly between plant species.

  2. Top | #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by bilby View Post
    I picked a district at random in California, and according to Calwater, domestic consumers there pay from $3.95 up to $7.40 per 1000USgal (the low price is for the first 748USgal, then usage above that volume is more expensive), while farmers pay an average of $70/acre ft., or $0.215 per 1000USgal.

    It's essentially a farming subsidy.
    ^^^^ This ^^^^

    They keep telling us we have to conserve water more because there's a drought. I'll believe it when I stop driving past rice paddies.

  3. Top | #83
    Elder Contributor barbos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bilby View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by barbos View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by bleubird View Post
    It takes 1900 gallons of water to grow ONE pound of almonds! It takes about 10 gallons to grow one pound of strawberries. California ag uses 80% of the water.
    10 gallons per one pound of strawberries sounds reasonable. But 1900 gallons for almonds? Wikipedia says almond tree is fine with droughts (it's native to Iran)
    The nuts are a much smaller fraction of the plant though. So you likely don't get many kg of nuts per sq.m of foliage, where strawberries would have a much higher mass of fruit per leaf sq.m. And leaf area is a big determinant of water use, even though transpiration per sq.m varies significantly between plant species.
    OK. We need strawberry-almond hybrid. Or grow everything in completely closed greenhouses where everything circulates.

  4. Top | #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by barbos View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by bleubird View Post
    It takes 1900 gallons of water to grow ONE pound of almonds! It takes about 10 gallons to grow one pound of strawberries. California ag uses 80% of the water.
    10 gallons per one pound of strawberries sounds reasonable. But 1900 gallons for almonds? Wikipedia says almond tree is fine with droughts (it's native to Iran)
    The strawberry bush produces an awful lot more food for it's size than the almond tree.

  5. Top | #85
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    Quote Originally Posted by bilby View Post
    The Blue Fever (now often called the 'Black Death') caused a world population decline that some place at as much as 20%; Population may have taken almost two hundred years, or seven to ten generations, to completely recover. That's the biggest catastrophic world population decline I am aware of, both as a proportion of total population, and in terms of time taken to recover. World population is estimated to have been about 450 million in 1340, and was 'only' around 375 million in 1400. That catastrophe could have been almost completely averted by antibiotics.
    The term "Blue Fever" is new to me. Googling that term points to Cholera and a work of fiction! "Blue disease" is Rickettsia? But the Black Death is attributed to Yersinia bacteria (or perhaps an unidentified virus).

    Population decline was well over 20% in Europe, and, by increasing the value of labor vs land, had a big economic effect there.

    Disease is not a panacean path to population reduction! I read that countries that stayed open during the recent pandemic experienced more economic contraction than more prudent countries! (I'm not sure why that was.)

  6. Top | #86
    Veteran Member Valjean's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loren Pechtel View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by barbos View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by bleubird View Post
    It takes 1900 gallons of water to grow ONE pound of almonds! It takes about 10 gallons to grow one pound of strawberries. California ag uses 80% of the water.
    10 gallons per one pound of strawberries sounds reasonable. But 1900 gallons for almonds? Wikipedia says almond tree is fine with droughts (it's native to Iran)
    The strawberry bush produces an awful lot more food for it's size than the almond tree.
    By volume of product, by weight, or per calorie?

  7. Top | #87
    Sapere aude Politesse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by barbos View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by bleubird View Post
    It takes 1900 gallons of water to grow ONE pound of almonds! It takes about 10 gallons to grow one pound of strawberries. California ag uses 80% of the water.
    10 gallons per one pound of strawberries sounds reasonable. But 1900 gallons for almonds? Wikipedia says almond tree is fine with droughts (it's native to Iran)
    Common wisdom (and science) says a gallon for an almond, so that numbers checks out though it does ignore the considerable variations that exist between both different global regions and different irrigation strategies. Almond cultivation takes up about 10% of California's water budget at present, excessive for a luxury cash crop if not a one-trick pony for solving the water shortage. The water investment in almond production does need to be reduced. This doesn't necessarily mean that we must stop farming almonds, but it does mean farmers need to stop some troublesome practices like flood-irrigating orchards in early Spring and invest in subsurface drip systems that are more efficient. The theoretical drought tolerance of the plant means nothing if the growers refuse to take advantage of those tolerances. And as with all things America, this has become a partisan battle where facts are often ignored. A substantial portion of almond growers do not believe that there is a drought, and refuse to risk more disease and less yield adjusting for a natural crisis that they believe to be an Obama-era hoax.

  8. Top | #88
    Fair dinkum thinkum bilby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Politesse View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by barbos View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by bleubird View Post
    It takes 1900 gallons of water to grow ONE pound of almonds! It takes about 10 gallons to grow one pound of strawberries. California ag uses 80% of the water.
    10 gallons per one pound of strawberries sounds reasonable. But 1900 gallons for almonds? Wikipedia says almond tree is fine with droughts (it's native to Iran)
    Common wisdom (and science) says a gallon for an almond, so that numbers checks out though it does ignore the considerable variations that exist between both different global regions and different irrigation strategies. Almond cultivation takes up about 10% of California's water budget at present, excessive for a luxury cash crop if not a one-trick pony for solving the water shortage. The water investment in almond production does need to be reduced. This doesn't necessarily mean that we must stop farming almonds, but it does mean farmers need to stop some troublesome practices like flood-irrigating orchards in early Spring and invest in subsurface drip systems that are more efficient. The theoretical drought tolerance of the plant means nothing if the growers refuse to take advantage of those tolerances. And as with all things America, this has become a partisan battle where facts are often ignored. A substantial portion of almond growers do not believe that there is a drought, and refuse to risk more disease and less yield adjusting for a natural crisis that they believe to be an Obama-era hoax.
    So raise prices for water. If they can save money by reducing water use, then they will whether or not they believe that there's a drought. And if they can't or won't reduce water use, the money they're now paying for the water can be used to build and operate desalination plants (and delivery systems) to provide that water without depending on rainfall.

    The only real problem here is welfare queens who want to be handed for free (or at massively subsidised prices) a resource that everyone else is expected to pay for. Surely that position doesn't contradict their precious political beliefs?

  9. Top | #89
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    Quote Originally Posted by DBT View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by laughing dog View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by DBT View Post

    What can be done when demand exceeds carrying capacity? In this instance, the demand for water. New technology? Better management?
    Higher price for water.
    Many households may be already struggling with high mortgage repayments, electricity bills, etc.
    Water is under-priced in the West especially for agriculture and industry.

  10. Top | #90
    Elder Contributor DBT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by laughing dog View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by DBT View Post

    Many households may be already struggling with high mortgage repayments, electricity bills, etc.
    Water is under-priced in the West especially for agriculture and industry.
    Doesn't that depend on what the average business or household can afford to pay for utilities? Of course, some can.

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