Cows Suck Up More Water Than Almonds

Cattle use a lot more of California's water than almonds.

Drink deep.

Photograph: UniversalImagesGroup

Almond growers have been catching a lot of flak lately for snarfing up so much of California's water. This isn't entirely unfair -- almonds have been the state's big agricultural growth story during the past couple of decades, and they are thirsty little drupes. Still, it isn't the whole story. Last week Philip Bump of the Washington Post and Alissa Walker of Gizmodo both offered defenses of the almond-industrial complex that I would recommend reading if you're interested in that kind of stuff (I clearly am). Meanwhile, I figured I'd try to offer a little context.

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