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Norwegian newspaper covers California's drought

An almond orchard in Winton, Calif.
The California drought is so severe, it is drawing worldwide attention, including recent news coverage in Norway. Reporter Kristoffer Rønneberg visited a farm and reservoir in the Central Valley and spoke to a UC Agriculture and Natural Resources expert for an article in Aftenposten (Evening Post), Norway's largest newspaper.

"Look at this," said west side farmer John Diener. "In this field, I tried to cultivate a type of wheat that doesn't need as much water. But it did not (thrive). We did not get enough rain. Now the entire crop has withered." (Translation by Google Translate.)

Rønneberg walked on the bank of Millerton Lake, north of Fresno, where he would have been wading through water in a normal year. He reported that the reservoir is at 30 percent of its capacity.

The reporter also touched on a common theme during the 2010-14 drought: the water needs of California's almond crop, which has more than doubled in size over the last 20 years. Each almond, the story said, requires 4.2 liters of water.

"There are many who believe that almonds require much more water than other plants. That's just nonsense," Diener said. "But there are some who have an interest in blaming farmers for water shortages, and they have chosen to use the almond as a kind of symbol."

The Norwegian newspaper reported that urban Californians were irritated when Gov. Brown's April 1 water conservation restrictions didn't include agriculture.

“Why should they give up their lawns when farmers are growing vegetables, grains and nuts?” the story asks, noting that a significant portion of alfalfa and almonds grown in California are exported to other countries.

Doug Parker, director of the UC ANR California Institute for Water Resources, said that's the wrong way to look at the issue. “So what if it is exported?” Parker said. “We also import plenty of food to California. That's how the global market works.”

Posted on Wednesday, June 17, 2015 at 8:14 AM
Tags: almonds (65), Doug Parker (16), drought (171)

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