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US rivers and lakes are shrinking for a surprising reason: cows


by Troy Farah, The Guardian


  • Growing crops in order to feed cows has been identified as a major cause of water shortages, according to a new analysis in Nature
  • Cattle fed crops used for beef and dairy account for 23% of all water consumption while agriculture accounts for 92% of freshwater use globally
  • It takes nearly 450 gallons of water per quarter pound of beef
  • Major metropolitan cities on the U.S. West Coast consume the most water-intensive beef and dairy products 
  • The U.S. experiences an increased risk of fish extinction due to draining water tables and toxic runoff into rivers and dried up streams
  • Brian Richter, the study’s lead author, proposed letting farmland sit idle, also known as fallowing, in order to save water 
  • Straying away from water-intensive beef and dairy operations can play a role in saving water and reducing greenhouse gas emissions

The Climate Center’s Climate-Safe California Platform includes carbon sequestration through building healthy soils by working with nature using climate-friendly management and restoration practices in agricultural soils. These practices provide many benefits including helping to conserve water. 

Read More: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jul/02/agriculture-cattle-us-water-shortages-colorado-river