Factory Farms Wasting Water During Historic Drought

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Over the historic drought that continues to shatter records across the Western United States, the parched zone now spans a dozen states and nearly 600 counties, from southern Texas to the northern Rockies. Hardest hit is California. As of last month, nearly 60 percent of the state is officially in an “exceptional” drought — the highest level, above “severe” — and meteorologists are seeing no immediate change in a relentlessly dry forecast. Indeed, scientists are warning that the state’s cyclical droughts could become longer and more frequent as the climate warms.

Already the drought has led to the “greatest water loss ever seen in California agriculture,” said a study last month by researchers at the University of California at Davis.

 “A well-managed basin is used like a reserve bank account,” Howitt said. “We’re acting like the super rich who have so much money they don’t need to balance their checkbook.”

California Drought Monitor - FreshNLean.com


Factory Farming and the Environment

Wasted Water

  • According   to   the   Pew   Commission   on Industrial  Farm  Animal  Production,  growing farm  animal  feed  crops  “places  enormous demand  on  water  resources:  87  percent  of the  use  of  freshwater  in  the  U.S.  is  used  in agriculture,  primarily  irrigation.”  Worldwide, agriculture  accounts  for  93  percent  of  water depletion, with the vast majority of freshwater used for farm animal feed production.  Producing   one   pound   of   animal   protein requires  about  100  times  more  water  than producing  a  pound  of  grain  protein.
  • The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has estimated that 70 percent of land formerly supporting Amazon rainforests has been turned over to grazing.
  • In fact, factory farming wastes so much water that you can save as much water by not eating a pound of beef as you can by not showering for almost six months. In addition to providing drinking water for farm animals  and  irrigation  for  feed  crops,  factory farms use scarce freshwater resources to flush manure  out  of  barns  and  for  other  industrial uses.  For  example,  industrial  milking  centers that use manure flush cleaning and automatic cow washing systems can use as much as 150 gallons of water per cow per day.
  • Between watering the crops that farm animals eat, providing drinking water for billions of animals each year, and cleaning away the filth in factory farms, transport trucks, and slaughterhouses, the animal agriculture industry has a huge impact on the water supply. Producing one pound of beef takes an estimated 1,581 gallons of water, which is roughly as much as the average American uses in 100 showers.
  • With over nine billion animals raised and slaughtered for human consumption each year in the U.S. alone, modern animal agriculture puts an incredible strain on natural resources like land, water, and fossil fuel. Factory farms yield a relatively small amount of meat, dairy, and eggs for this input, and in return produce staggering quantities of waste and greenhouse gases, polluting our land, air, and water and contributing to climate change.

To learn more about the devastating effects of factory farming on animals, human health, and the planet, explore the link http://www.farmsanctuary.org/


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