In a previous post at the Marginal Revolution blog, Alex Tabarrok, pointed out that agriculture uses 80% of the water in California but accounts for less than 2% of the economy.
So how much water does almond production alone use? More water is used in almond production than is used by all the residents and businesses of San Francisco and Los Angeles combined.
Here’s a chart from Mother Jones:
At the same time as farmers are watering their almonds, San Diego is investing in an energy-intensive billion-dollar desalination plant which will produce water at a much higher cost than the price the farmer are paying. That is a massive and costly misallocation of water.
In short, we are spending thousands of dollars worth of water to grow hundreds of dollars worth of almonds and that is truly nuts.
No mention of the cost of the water used to save a delta bait fish from extinction. Maybe we should cost out that water as well.