Based on an article by Larry Buchanan, Josh Keller and Haeyoun Park of the New York Times
“The average American consumes more than 300 gallons of California water each week by eating food that was produced there.”
It’s not just the people whose water comes directly from the Colorado River Basin that contribute to the rapid drainage. Indirectly, whether they are aware of it or not, Americans from every state and even people from other countries around the globe contribute. The water footprints of people do not stop at the borders of the state or country these people live in.
A water footprint is the volume of fresh water appropriated to produce a product, taking into account the volumes of fresh water consumed and polluted in the different steps of the supply chain. When a consumer buys this product, they take the water footprint for this product with them.
For example, you live in Vermont and you consume a sliver of avocado produced in California, you take that avocado’s water footprint. That one sliver takes around 4.1 gallons (15.5 liters) of water to produce. Now imagine how much water is needed for everything you consume.
The Colorado River Basin supplies its water to 40 million people, but in reality it supplies to many more.