Californians agriculture industry is the most productive in the country. The industry also uses 80% of all the states water. The industry is only responsible for 2% of the states economy! This is a major concern – we all need food but we all need water. The general public has been out under water use mandates designed to conserve more water everyday. The agriculture industry has been spared and their current water use habits can continue until further notice despite the controversy this has caused.
Days after taking the unprecedented step of ordering mandatory water-use reductions throughout his state, California Gov. Jerry Brown defended his executive order’s treatment of the state’s agriculture industry and its use of water. Brown said California’s farms are “providing most of the fruits and vegetables of America,” as well as jobs for the state’s most vulnerable residents. Though agriculture accounts for only 2 percent of California’s economy, it consumes 80 percent of the state’s water, according to the Public Policy Institute of California, a nonpartisan think tank.
The Democratic governor also emphasized how much agriculture has already been hurt by the state’s drought. Farm workers who are very low end of the economic scale here are out of work. There are people in agriculture areas that are really suffering. Brown said shutting water allocations off would displace hundreds of thousands of people.
The governor emphasized the severity of his measures and said their impact would test the state’s ability to work together. He added that his executive order should serve as a wake-up call for Californians given that voluntary measures failed last year.
This executive order is done under emergency power and it has the force of law. It’s very unusual and it’s requiring action and changes in behavior from the Oregon border all the way to the Mexican border.