California grows a pretty significant part of our food supply, both in terms of sheer numbers and in terms of different varieties. But as the land out there gets drier and drier, not everything is going to make it.
The USDA’s Economic Research Service put together this chart of which crops depend on various water sources around the state, and which are most in danger of running low. Note that the chart does not show which crops use the most water — almonds, for instance, occupy a relatively safe segment of the chart. Why? Because, in spite of their incredible thirst for water, most of the state’s almond farms are already in areas with strong existing water supplies that don’t depend on irrigation. When you get in to crops that are both heavy water users and dependent on irrigation, though, the future is much dicier. In other words, rice, your days in California may be numbered.
Top image: Rice fields outside of Sacramento / Amadscientist .
Chart: USDA / ERS.