Sacramento, CA—California governor Jerry Brown defended his recent mandatory water restrictions that largely spare farms. The order, which went into action on April 1st, requires towns and cities throughout the state to cut down their water use by 25% compared to 2013 measures. Previous reductions had been put in place, but were voluntary.
Detractors of the measures are quick to point out that farms, which are largely unaffected by the measures, consume 80% of the state’s water supply but make less than 2% of the state’s economy. In an interview with ABC News, Brown responded by explaining the value that California farms have. As he explained, “They’re not watering their lawn or taking long showers. They’re providing most of the fruits and vegetables of America and a significant part of the world.” Brown added that taking water from farmers could potentially displace hundreds of thousands of people and put farm laborers at risk of losing work. He also harkened back to previous instances where farmers were denied irrigation water by federal surface supplies, resulting in hundreds of thousands of acres being left unplanted.
Governor Brown concluded his interview with a far-reaching warning in the face of the state’s extended drought: “I can tell you from California, climate change is not a hoax.”
Published in WholeFoods Magazine, May 2015 (online 4/6/15)