Wasting water on ethanol amidst California drought

February 18, 2014

Californians are currently suffering though the worst drought in decades. For the first time in its 54-year history, the main municipal water distribution system (the State Water Project), said it is unable to provide water to local agencies, including farmers.

The water shortage is so bad that President Obama recently traveled to Sacramento to pledge $183 million from existing federal funds to support drought relief.

All the while, thousands of gallons of California water are being exploited to fulfill a mandate that only serves to hurt California business more. Tom Tanton of the California Coalition of Energy Users told The Fresno Bee how the President could really make a difference:

“If President Obama wants to help countless Central Valley farming families and their employees survive the drought, he can help advocate water conservation in one key area: corn ethanol refining and the federal policy that encourages it.”

At a time when every drop of water counts in California, ethanol plants are using a staggering 1,700 gallons of water to produce a single gallon of corn ethanol — more than enough water to supply a California town of 5,000 every year.

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