The first sentence is pretty compelling:
IT’S NOT EXACTLY news that the rivers of the western U.S. are in trouble.
For decades, their water has been siphoned off by climate change-fueled heat and an ever-growing human demand for grassy front lawns and long showers. The biggest user of river water by far, though, is agriculture—and new research shows that across the western United States, a third of all consumed water goes to irrigate crops not for human consumption, but that are used to feed beef and dairy cattle. In the Colorado River basin, it’s over 50 percent.
Marguerite Xenopoulos, an aquatic ecologist at Trent University in Ontario says:
“When you layer on climate change with the other issues the rivers are already facing, you end up with a double or a triple whammy,” says Xenopoulos, the fish ecologist. “We should be worried. This should be a wake-up call.”
But, she stressed, some parts of the water challenge posed by beef and dairy consumption can be addressed directly, today, and help to save fish and ecosystems.
“We can control the amount of water we allocate to different things,” says Xenopoulos. “We can try to grow food that uses less water. This is an easier issue to fix than climate change because that’s such a bigger-scale problem. So let’s focus here and find some answers,” she says.