California's drought forces a look at the water required to grow what we eat
More than 40 percent of California is suffering through what the U.S. Drought Monitor terms "exceptional drought." While the Golden State's urban users have been told to use 25 percent less water than they did in 2013, its highly productive agricultural industry—which consumes 80 percent of the water tapped for humans in California—has (until recently) largely avoided water restrictions. The Los Angeles Times crunched numbers from the UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education to find out exactly how much water goes into producing many of the foods U.S. residents eat (more than 400 of which are grown in California). Replace meat with nuts and pulses (such as lentils, chickpeas, and beans) and the water footprint of the average American diet could drop by 30 percent. Here's how much water goes into some of the things you consume.