Are California Farmers Water Hogs?

In his commentary in the Wall Street Journal, California Farmers Aren’t the Water Hogs, Ted Sheely discusses the blame farmers are asked to take for the water shortage in California.

Sheely, a farmer himself in California’s San Joaquin Valley, argues that the media is not reporting the full picture.

The second-worst thing about the drought is how farmers are bearing most of the blame. We hear one figure over and over: Agriculture consumes 80% of California’s water.

That statistic makes farmers like me look like gluttons—and it suggests that if we were to reduce our reliance on water just a little, then our state’s predicament would vanish like a puddle on a hot day.

Except that it’s not true. Farmers don’t use 80% of California’s water. While this figure has saturated the media’s coverage of the drought—it’s a fabrication of environmentalists who want to disguise that they “use” even more water than farmers.


Farmland in Los Banos, Calif., in the San Joaquin Valley. PHOTO: LUCY NICHOLSON/REUTERS

Read the entire story in the Wall Street Journal: California Farmers Aren’t the Water Hogs

Mr. Sheely, a farmer in California’s San Joaquin Valley, volunteers as a board member of The Truth About Trade & Technology, a farming-advocacy nonprofit.