Letters to the Editor

Water is a numbers game

The front page of The Bee’s April 3 edition showed a pie chart on California water use. “Environmental Use” is shown as 52%, which is misleading.

According to the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California, “More than half of California’s environmental water use occurs in rivers along the state’s north coast. These waters are largely isolated from major agricultural and urban areas and cannot be used for other purposes.”

A more representative regional chart for the Valley would have agriculture as the primary user at 60-70%, with environmental use at around 20% . If you factor in groundwater recharge, the 20% figure would be even lower.

The fact that agriculture is, by far, the largest consumer of water in our area is a point you somehow missed, instead choosing to focus on statewide totals and a misleading criticism of the traditional 80% figure.

If this traditional 80% figure is to be addressed, you should have appropriate data. Since most of your readers reside in the San Joaquin Valley, the figures for the local area should be used in preference to misleading data that somehow agricultural uses are second to the environment.

Paul Forbes