Mar 2 2014
Would increasing the cost of water to the growers significantly raise the price of vegetables for the consumer? Here, in Water Shock, Charlie Reagan is talking about this subject.
“Ironically,” Charlie said, “they could have financed many recycled water projects with a simple increase in the cost of water that would not have had a significant impact on the cost of growing food. As an example, in 2009, a carrot farmer in the Imperial Valley could get about thirty thousand pounds of carrots from an acre of land. Those carrots used about one hundred fourteen dollars’ worth of water to grow. What that meant in the grocery store was that the big, three-pound bag of carrots required an astonishing two hundred seventeen gallons of water to grow—and that water cost one penny.i [end note 21] Say the water cost was doubled, would two cents added to the price of a bag of carrots break anyone’s food budget? Safe to say, it’d be caught in the rounding, but that added penny when we’re talking about billions of gallons would’ve helped finance water reuse.”
If we double the cost of the water required to grow those 30,000 pounds of carrots from to $228.00, as Charlie says, the cost of that three pound bag of carrots may “skyrocket” by one penny to two cents to pay for doubling the cost of the water.
Do you think the consumer would even see an increase in price? Currently carrots cost, at the supermarket between fifty cents and a dollar a pound, using seventy-five cents, a three pound bag now costs $2.25. It is actually astonishing that if the carrot grower’s water cost doubled, that same bag would now cost $2.26.
To fund indirect and/or direct water recycling, the funds have to come from somewhere, and why not from agri-business? Powerful lobbyists will yell “Foul”, and they will put fear into the consumer’s minds that vegetable prices will rise beyond what food budgets can stand. Really? By raising the cost of a three pound bag of carrots by a penny?
21. Charles Fishman, The Big Thirst (New York: Simon & Schuster, Inc., 2011), 268.
Comments are invited.