By Neha Vachhani
The continuous drought throughout California has negatively impacted not only locals experiencing the water shortages firsthand, but also everyday consumers across the nation. Agriculturally, the drought has caused an immense lack of grass across the coast, which, by and large, takes away the main source of organic feed for livestock. As California farmers struggle to meet the requirements for an “organic” label, the USDA has put a hold on enforcing organic standards such as grazing periods or quality of feed for livestock, according to CNN. Ultimately, this results in a subpar quality of food available for purchase daily at the grocery store.
Californians are now facing their third year of a relentless drought that has forced farmers to abandon crops and left townsfolk to depend on alternate water sources. Despite the scarcity of water, residents of the dry state have been conserving a great deal of it. In July alone, Californians saved 17 billion gallons of water through simple actions like taking shorter showers and limiting the amount used to water lawns. Overall, water usage has been cut by 7.5 percent in July, according to the Huffington Post.
There are even businesses and corporations primarily in Northern California that have cut their consumption in half. The state has put in place mandatory conservation measures such as replacing turf and “water-thirsty” lawns with drought tolerant plants and other landscaping. Some areas have even banned residents from filling up their swimming pools in an effort to conserve as much water as possible.
While many Californians are doing everything in their power to save water, their efforts are washed away under big corporations like Dunkin’ Donuts as they sign off on million-dollar deals that largely impact the environment. As of early September, Dunkin’ Donuts has announced that they will be offering almond milk at most U.S. locations. The provider, Blue Diamond Growers, have many bases in California. Almonds are an extremely water-intensive crop, requiring over a gallon of water to grow one almond, according to the LA Times. Dunkin’ Donuts has nearly 8,000 U.S. locations, and it’s going to take a great deal of almond milk to stock them all. A higher demand of almond milk will increase production and possibly even cause Blue Diamond to expand, which would result in more water usage during one of the worst droughts in over a century.