Hi everyone my name is Stefan and I am currently a graduating senior in my Hydrology program. Over the last few years i have been putting in tons of personal research into Low Input High Diversity growing techniques (I even did my senior project on this with great results), this information lead me to find permaculture which is where I have spent most of my recent research efforts. I have been eavesdropping on this forum for quite a while now and am finally getting around to writing my first post (WOOT).
So thats a little of my background, now as far as CA water problems go I love that everyone wants to get involved and do their part. But from what I've learned and seminars Ive gone to I really feel this is putting our energy into the wrong spot, this is because of the nature of agricultural water use. In a time of drought if residents are able to conserve water, agriculture will come and sweep up that extra as they are scrambling and clawing to get every last drop they can. Does this mean that conserving water is wrong? NO, but it does mean that conserving water alone will not solve our problems because it will be undermined by agriculture. Lets look at almonds as an example, we all know they use excessive amounts of water and dont produce crops for the first few years. The water used to sustain these trees alone would account for 75% of residential water use in the ENTIRE state, so lets say you want to conserve water rather than using less water its about eating less water hungry crops.
Yes this could be a drastic change to some as many of our favorite foods require high amounts of water, but it is really the only way to show big agriculture we are serious about our environment and our health. We can vote, conserve, and rally to achieve the intended results but by the time we get anything done through this route it could easily be too late (Subduction, essentially the ground collapsing because too much water is removed, has been occurring in Northern CA now at a rate of almost 2 feet per year since 2011 and SoCal is far past that in terms of subduction; anyone ever hear of the Tulare lake? well its completely gone now). We need to vote with our dollars since that is all that matters now to many Americans, that means disciplined choice of food purchasing as far as where it comes from and what its requirements are. I have seen the Organic food movement take off here in Northern California to the point where organics are now the same price if not cheaper than non organic, this makes me confident that we can also do this with water wise food!
The best part is that many of these foods that you may want to give up/decrease intake can be grown in your own water wise permaculture system so you dont have to completely forgo them!
Im sorry I am currently on my laptop and the links to my sources are on my desktop at home (Will try to remember to update when I get home)