5 Corporations Sucking California Dry During the Drought

April 20, 2015   |   Jake Anderson

Jake Anderson
April 20, 2015

(ANTIMEDIA) As most people in the country know by now, California is currently suffering from a severe, record-breaking drought. In fact, it’s the worst drought in 1,200 years. While Governor Jerry Brown recently issued a mandate for people to start conserving water, large corporations use up and waste vastly more water than individuals and small businesses, often in ways that are detrimental to the environment.

Let’s take a look at five of the most massive corporations in California that are the worst culprits when it comes to wasting water:

1. Nestle

Nestle, once mainly known for its chocolate bars, is now becoming increasingly notorious for the way it uses up water in its bottled water products. Nestle, of course, has been criticized for using up water in drought-stricken third world countries. However, it is also doing this right at home in California. For example, one of the places where Nestle gets water is on the Morongo Reservation in the Cabazon region of the state. This is an area where groundwater levels of water have been steadily declining in recent years.

2. Harris Ranch

Harris Cattle Ranch is the largest producer of beef in California. At last count, it produced more than 150 million pounds of beef per year. While much of the attention on conserving water is focused on individuals, the fact is that more than 90% of the water used in California is used by agriculture. Cows consume more than twenty times as much water as humans. Crops such as soybeans and corn, which are heavily subsidized by the government, also use up massive amounts of water.

3. Occidental Petroleum

Occidental Petroleum is one of the oil companies in California that use enhanced oil recovery techniques, more commonly known as ‘fracking’. This is a practice that has become increasingly controversial due to potential health risks and suspected fracking-related seismic activity. Fracking also uses up large amounts of water. According to one estimate, a single well may use more than 5 million gallons of water to extract resources. Recent evidence also suggests that fracking companies have dumped waste water into aquifers, which contaminates the water with pollutants such as heavy metals and radiation.

4. California Dairies, Inc.

California Dairies, Inc. is the largest dairy processing cooperative in the state, producing 43% of California’s milk and 9% of the milk of the entire country. Along with beef, dairy production is another practice that uses up incredible amounts of water. It actually takes as much as 30 gallons of water to produce one gallon of milk.

5. Paramount Farming

Paramount Farming is the largest producer in the nation of nuts such as almonds and pistachios. Almond production alone uses up more water than is used by both residents and businesses in Los Angeles and San Francisco combined. Most nuts grown in California are exported to various parts of the world.

California’s drought is a serious and complex issue. Solving it will take an effort on the part of many people, including individuals, politicians and businesses. When studying this issue, however, it’s important not to ignore the considerably more massive part played by large companies. We have seen what happens on a geopolitical level when vital resources begin to dwindle, and I’m not talking about Frank Herbert’s Dune, which features a planet in which the scarcity of water has made it the most precious of substances. People can help to conserve water in many ways. More importantly, in addition to using less water with everyday tasks, people can pay more attention to what type of products they buy and consume. If you are interested in the macro view of water conservation, consider boycotting the companies and industries listed above.


This article (5 Corporations Sucking California Dry During the Drought) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author and TheAntiMedia.org. Tune in to the Anti-Media radio show Monday through Friday @ 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific. Image credit: Peripitus. Help us fix our typos: edits@theantimedia.org.

Author: Jake Anderson

Jake Anderson joined Anti-Media as an independent journalist in April of 2015. His topics of interest include social justice, science, corporatocracy, and dystopian science fiction. He currently resides in Escondido, California.

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33 Comments

  1. So, where should California get its food? Some third world country where rain forest are wiped out? Gotta use your head. People need to eat and nobody is totally self sufficient any more. In a perfect world you would have a garden in your back yard that produces an endless amount of food. Never needs to be weeded or watered but just magically grows. However I never have seen one of them myself. If you want to see what total carnage is, wait a couple days after L.A. runs out of food on store shelves.

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  2. You neglect to mention the animal feed that we are exporting, which is by far a larger consumer of water (with zero benefit back to the people who live there, except $ in the pockets of the rich) than any of the items you mention. Which are heinous enough.

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  3. Who wiped out the rainforests, genius?

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  4. Yes you're right, we have to use our heads–and figure out a new system of sustainable food that doesn't require an insane amount of money. Hydroponics could be big solution someday.

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  5. What about people? Does the human body not made of 70% water or more? It's been a long time since I took science class. And to add on top of that, how much do we consume? The more people there is the more beef and almonds we have to produce and the more bottled water we need ready, correct? How many people lived in California 30 years ago versus now? If there was an increase, which i'm almost certain there was, shouldn't that be a factor in usage of water? Not only that but I am pretty confident that housing and transportation also has a few gallons here and there stored in pipe systems of some sort. Is anyone checking there for water?

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  6. What about people? Does the human body not made of 70% water or more? It's been a long time since I took science class. And to add on top of that, how much do we consume? The more people there is the more beef and almonds we have to produce and the more bottled water we need ready, correct? How many people lived in California 30 years ago versus now? If there was an increase, which i'm almost certain there was, shouldn't that be a factor in usage of water? Not only that but I am pretty confident that housing and transportation also has a few gallons here and there stored in pipe systems of some sort. Is anyone checking there for water?

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  7. Isn't it funny that state of California, famous for having the most environmentalists is the only state with water problems, then again have you ever seen a poor environmentalists?

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  8. Did you even read the article Randy? Clearly not. You're a skimmer, and therefore don't have a legitimate argument. The 5th says almond production alone uses more water than all citizens and businesses combined

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  9. Casey Zippro your point is? Yes I read the whole article, and simply stated that it's funny that a state that prides it self with having the most environmentalists would be in such water trouble, lol. We have plenty of water in Louisiana, want to buy some, lol.

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  10. Casey Zippro To be fair, it says Almond production alone uses up more water than is used by both residents and businesses in Los Angeles and San Francisco combined". Still…that's a lot of water. Smarter watering uses all around are needed.

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  11. So you want to eat or you don't? We have to support California agriculture in order to eat in this country. Saving water, growing carefully selected crops these are nothing new for our ranchers and farmers in California. Stop with this nonsense… You either want to eat or you don't….

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  12. Nestle is also sucking up lake Michigan ………..but with water worth more than gasoline ………….who can you blame……….js……………..smfh……..

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  13. Nestle is also sucking up lake Michigan ………..but with water worth more than gasoline ………….who can you blame……….js……………..smfh……..

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  14. Seems to me the problem over population. We need more food to sustain a growing population. But the water for the people or their food isn't there. So maybe they should look at limiting population growth? Idk. Just an idea…

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  15. Seems to me the problem over population. We need more food to sustain a growing population. But the water for the people or their food isn't there. So maybe they should look at limiting population growth? Idk. Just an idea…

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  16. Jerry brown's is no stranger to this issue, it has been around since his daddy hell get it going, when HE was governor!! Problem is, people like me have be hounding our water and planning boards for years regarding water.
    They keep telling everything EXCEPT they are going to stop allowing MORE and MORE BUILDING, which of course helps get THEM PAID and high paying job AFTER they leave our government.
    We have had a series of elected employees in this state who have given it away, right under the noses of the over pampered residents, who apparently never got it either!!
    We need a new waterway from the Great North….starting with where the Columbia River dumps BILLIONS of gallons each day, into the ocean!

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  17. Jerry brown's is no stranger to this issue, it has been around since his daddy hell get it going, when HE was governor!! Problem is, people like me have be hounding our water and planning boards for years regarding water.
    They keep telling everything EXCEPT they are going to stop allowing MORE and MORE BUILDING, which of course helps get THEM PAID and high paying job AFTER they leave our government.
    We have had a series of elected employees in this state who have given it away, right under the noses of the over pampered residents, who apparently never got it either!!
    We need a new waterway from the Great North….starting with where the Columbia River dumps BILLIONS of gallons each day, into the ocean!

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  18. I live down the Merced River from Yosemite Nat'l Park. There is no water in the river due to no snow, no rain, this is a fact too. It's so critical the vegetation along the river is dried up and gone, the Bald Eagles who come here every January to the same nest to raise their young have left, we have maybe 100 water fowl typically in the 1000's, the fox are gone, the beaver and river otters are gone, deer are pitifully few, no possum, few raccoon, no jack rabbits, no squirrel. Peeper frogs, blue belly lizards gone, river turtles gone. There is vultures, mice and rattle snakes. Oak trees are dying, wild grapes, figs and blackberries that feed so many of the wildlife are dying. I worked all my life to be able to retire here. I put my retirement here to build and own my home and protecting and enjoying the wildlife. My soul is dying with everything else.

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  19. How much water does Budweiser and other beer producing companies here in California?

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  20. I dont live in California but that's the stupidest comment I've ever seen people can live so much longer without food than without water…

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  21. I do agree that there is hypocrisy within the federal government and California state government regarding water usage/conservation. This article assigns blame to corporations that provide food and food products to the whole world. They do make profits and that in and of itself isn't an evil thing. We all are self motivated and directly profit from our labor ( our jobs ) Kelloggs of Battle creek, MI makes corn flakes so we can have a nutritious breakfast but they still want our money. Same thing with these companies in California. The water supply in California is heavily regulated and restrictive in part to protect endangered fish that were once believed to be extinct. There are many major rivers and dams and lakes that have ample reserve of drinking water but the restrictive conservation laws of the state prohibit the freeing up of water during times of drought. They have plenty of water but restrictive laws and this is their major problem.

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  22. This is in part the natural selection within the evolutionary theory (survival of the fittest.) We here in America preach evolution but are resistant to the adaptation and change portion of the theory. One law holds true in that "the only constant in the universe is change" the climate and ecology have always been changing and we humans are refusing to adapt because the changes don't fit into our ideals. We are the very top of the food chain and are the supreme life form on the planet and we can and will adapt.

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  23. WAT BOUT TRACK IN ???

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  24. Actually more and more adults are not having children. The majority of Americas population are from the baby boomer era.

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  25. This has to be the dumbest comment on here.

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  26. What a lot of idiots in here don't realize is CA produces more food than ANY OTHER STATE!

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  27. California produces more food than any other state in the USA. Even you idiot right wingers eat. Unless you plan on living off your imaginary Freedom.

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  28. It might also be an immigration issue to though. It's a problem everywhere but it seems like California might have more of an issue with that then other states. I haven't done any research to substantiate that claim, however.

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  29. Yea but this isn't a natural change. This is change brought on because we, as a species, don't know how to work with nature. We are pompous and entitled.

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  30. Yea but this isn't a natural change. This is change brought on because we, as a species, don't know how to work with nature. We are pompous and entitled.

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