Nearly any time you have a conversation about California's drought, someone will inevitably make a remark like "and that's why you shouldn't eat meat" or "almonds will be the death of us all" or " I knew I was right to hate broccoli!" People love being told that food they dislike shouldn't be eaten almost as much as they love hearing that what they're eating is in the right, and the knowledge that 80% of California's water goes towards agriculture has given nearly every food opponent and proponent new arguments to unfurl while everyone else is just trying to make conversation.
Publications like Mother Jones and Grist have done their able best to separate emotional arguments over affection for cows and/or hamburgers into facts and figures, in the former's chart-based It Takes How Much Water to Grow an Almond?! (from February 24, 2015) and the latter's Watch How Much Water Goes Into Your Food video (from March 6, 2015).
Today, Wired's Out of Office with Brent Rose enters the fray, with a video report running down the "Best & Worst Foods for California’s Drought." In an article provocatively headlined "Is It Really Better To Eat Vegetarian In A Drought?," Rose uses data from Wired's own Guide to Produce that Won’t Make the Drought Worse, Gizmodo's Seriously, Stop Demonizing Almonds and the LA Times' 303 Gallons of Water Were Used to Make this Plate (among others) to break down which of California's crops are water sippers and guzzlers.
According to Rose, while cows are bad (850.2 gallons for a 8 oz steak), garbanzo beans are almost as bad (609 gallons for 8 oz). Chickens and their eggs come out as comparatively drought friendly. Okra and asparagus are water sucking crops, carrots not so much.
But don't sit there reading my boring typed words! Watch the (quite engaging) Rose lay it all out, and hang onto this link for the next time someone starts trying to use the drought as an excuse to food shame you.