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Old 02-07-2013   #31
Join Date: Oct 2003
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Originally Posted by wamsley View Post
Agreed: Xeriscaping is the way to go and we all should use less water

However, about 80% of the water sent to the Front Range goes to agriculture. So if we people want to truly have an impact on water conservation, we need to stop eating meat, as that consumes more water per Calorie than anything else. Can't give up meat, just give up beef, that is the highest water usage of the lot.

Just some info.

1. Yes a lot of water is used for agriculture. People need to eat to live. That is a fact of live. People do NOT need lush green lawns to survive. Unless they are eating their lawn, which I doubt....

2. Denver Water does not supply agriculture (they supply treated water) yet they are sucking our rivers dry. The average front ranger uses 86 gallons of water a day and 55% of this is for outdoor use. Water Use | Denver Water

3. They claim to promote conservation, but no one up here can see any conservation efforts - just a dried up river bed.

4. My grandfather is a cattle rancher in TX. In 50 years of cattle ranching, he has not provided one drop of river water to his cows. He dug a big hole in the ground with his backhoe (a pond) and they drink from this. There are no rivers withing 100 miles (hard to have a river with no gradient) just ponds and lakes with lots of water (it rains down there). I'm not arguing that agriculture does not use a lot of water, just saying his herd ain't sucking our rivers dry. And it is nice to eat.

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Old 02-07-2013   #32
denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: Feb 2011
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Apologies, you are correct, Denver Water does not supply agricultural needs.

However, my previous post was intended to inform people that regardless of where they live and how much water may be around them, that they too can conserve water by changing their eating habits.

As I said before, the vast majority of water in our state goes to agriculture (actually 86%) Check link #1 below. Therefore if we are to have the largest impact upon conservation, it would be centered around our diets. As raising cattle for consumption is highly water intensive, it would make sense to stop eating it (sorry that this would affect your relative's business). I also agree on xeriscaping lawns (and that would affect many landscaping companies negatively as well)

Also, Denver Water is responsible for consuming 2% of all of Colorado's Water Usage (see link 2, the same, I believe you gave before Jennifer). Again, this goes back to my original point of addressing agricultural demands over private home users.

So this begs a question: is it really the consumption of front range lawns that is causing the Colorado to "dry" up? My answer would be that front rangers do need to use less, but the agricultural demands placed upon the river far out way Denver Water's, so that is where big change needs to occur.

Finally, many people who golf or have families like their green lawns, just as you said you like beef (because it's tasty). Asking one group of people to sacrifice for conservation sake, while you do not, is a bit hypocritical, yes?

Colorado Water Conservation Board

Water Use | Denver Water

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Old 02-07-2013   #33
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Loveland, Colorado
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Posts: 149
So let me see if I get this right:
1) Lawns and golf courses are a higher priority (read "societal need") than food?
2. We should eliminate beef from our diet because it uses 10,000 +/- gal of water to produce 17 g of protein plus high levels of iron and zinc and essential amino acids not found in vegetarian based diets...even though the vast majority of this water is used NOT to water the cattle, but to process them. And the water used for processing is returned to the environment once it is cleaned. Further more, cattle spend most of their lives eating roughage that is not useful for anything else nor can the land be farmed due to lack of water
3) We should stop eating bread because it uses 10 gallons for a measily 2 G of protein.
4) We should also stop drinking coffe because it take 35 gal per cup and I drink 14 cups a week so that is 500 gallon per week
5) We should stop eating corn because it uses 8% of the global water supply.
6) Luddites that we are, we should ban GMO "golden Rice" that contains a significantly higher level of Vitamin A than regular rice and has the potential to eliminate the high levels of vitamin A deficiency in children in rice eating coutries.
7) We should also stop engineering grains that require lower levels of water to grow or soybeans that can be grown in tropical regions such as brazil and tropical africa.
8. We should stop using BT products and let the bugs eat all our crops so we really do have to stop eating these foods.

Read this paper by Jeffery Simmons the President of Elanco. The World population will reach 9 Billion by 2050. We are going to need 100% more food to feed the world. Yet we certainly won't have 100% more quallity land (or water). So the only answer to starvation is using technology to improve yields, water effeciency, plant varieties, disease resistance, etc. Just eliminating items from our food supply is not the answer, in fact it is ignoring the reality of global agriculture and propulation growth.
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Old 02-07-2013   #34
Salida, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: Nov 2008
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Remember that irrigated agriculture in Colorado - especially those higher elevation grass pastures - provide some other important benefits, like wildlife habitat, late season return flows to streams, and scenic open space. So yeah ag uses a lot of water, but its got other benefits - while the transfer of water from the west slope to water lawns on the front range is an entirely consumptive use - none of that water returns to the Colorado. What "big" changes would you suggest for ag? Maybe we should all switch to grass-fed beef which uses much less water and utilizes land that can't be used for other food crops.
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Old 02-07-2013   #35
Join Date: Feb 2005
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The facts are that Colorado does not have enough water to support everything that Coloradoans would like to do in the future. These future activities include (but are not limited to) ranching, farming, drilling for oil/natural gas, playing golf, and growing grass in residential yards.

The point that some have been trying to make is that you can't talk about water conservation without considering the one use (agriculture) that makes up for over 80% of all water used in the state.

I think everyone agrees that food is more important than golf courses or grass yards in Denver. However, I think it is shortsighted to think we can fully solve our water problems by focusing on solely on residential users who currently make up 6-7% of water usage in Colorado.
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Old 02-07-2013   #36
Hood River, Oregon
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Posts: 295
Ukonom is correct- there is a very important distinction here between consumptive and non-consumptive users. Ag on the west slope does use tons of water, but a lot of that returns to the river. If you have never paddled from Pallisade through Grand Junction, I would actually recommend it. The river loses tons of it's whole flow for a bit as it's all sucked out for agriculture. Then, over the course of the "15 mile reach," it regains almost that entire flow. You can actually see the water seeping through the shale layers. Yes, it it more polluted/saline (it actually forms cool travertine-like formations at the seeps), but it does indeed return. Water used on east slope lawns, on the other hand, obviously never returns to the river.

It is also important to think about the size of the watershed in play with Denver Water's use. The headwaters contains a very small amount of flow relative to the entire state. So, while Denver Water only uses 2% of statewide water, that 2% is a really really significant part of the water in the headwaters. Between Denver's firming projects and the Northern Water Conservancy's Colorado Big Thompson Project, the front range actually takes 60% of the headwaters' flow. Estimates of new projects' predict that this will expand to 80%. yep, 80%.

While paddling from Rocky Mountain NP to Kremmling this summer, it was amazing how the river actually loses water constantly as soon as it leaves the park. You are scraping on bone dry rocks until you hit the Williams Fork and the Blue down by kremmling. Definitely wouldn't want to be a trout in that stretch of river. PS, don't bother trying paddling this section... you have to negotiate with about 20 land owners in order to make the trip through the shallow (really shallow) class II.

Point is, front range water use has an undeniably huge effect on the headwaters region, regardless of agriculture's overall dominance of statewide water use.
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Old 02-07-2013   #37
denver, Colorado
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Ah, ignorance is bliss, is it not?

A vegetarian diet can and does provide all essential amino acids needed for a human. Google it.

I am not saying that golf courses are essential to life, nor am I saying a green lawn is. In fact both can be given up, and it would be better for water conservation. However, so can beef. Hate to say it, but eating a hamburger or a steak is not essential to life either. If you really need meat, eat eggs, chicken, fish, or pork. All use less water to produce.

As for the comment "And the water used for processing is returned to the environment once it is cleaned." from John_Loveland. Well a lawn and golf course both let the water return to the soil. That point has no bearing.

Cattle are not native to Colorado, Texas or anywhere in the USA. Again, hate to be a realist, but the overgrazing of lands is partially responsible for major environmental problems like the dust bowl. To say that their eating of scrub plants and drinking surface water has no impact upon water conservation, is ignorant. Agriculture greatly diminishes water tables.

Look, I am defensive of my position, because it is fact based. The only idea I want to put forth is that Agriculture uses way more water than anything else (actually, technically speaking, cooling power plants is actually #1, but that is whole different tangent). To have the biggest impact upon water conservation we should cut our Agricultural Water needs. The easiest way to do this is by eating more vegetable matter and less meat. And the biggest meat user of water is beef.

Pretty reasonable idea: Eat beef one less time a month and you can help conserve water. If we did this as a population, and reduced our beef eating, it would have a considerable impact.

Just food for thought
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Old 02-07-2013   #38
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Granby, Colorado
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Stupid Vegans

I challenge you to tie this into the original post. We want to preserve the Upper so we can raft it, and fish it. Lots of people who fish it also eat the fish they harvest. Therefore, I also challenge you to kiss my ass. The elk, deer, and bear that I eat consume the same amount of water whether I shoot and eat their flesh or not. I fear that your quarry is big agriculture, and that doesn't apply to a lot of table fare for Coloradoans that I know.

Originally Posted by wamsley View Post
This is from the gov'ment. Granted its a game, but it gets the point across. You don't have to make guesses, just hit the submit button and the next page will give you the answers. A pound of hamburger is like 18,000 gallons of water. A pound of corn is 110 gallons.

Water content of foods, USGS Water Science School

Hell, just skip to the answer page:
Water Science for Schools: Water used to grow common foods
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Old 02-07-2013   #39
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at my house, Montana
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Originally Posted by RiverCowboy View Post
I fear that your quarry is big agriculture, and that doesn't apply to a lot of table fare for Coloradoans that I know.
Really? Are you that completely clueless about our food supply? It's pretty much ALL big ag. Even most of the organic companies are owned by big ag (or coke) or big enough to be a similar paradigm. For goodness sake, before you spout off and call people stupid, make sure you aren't doing so with a stupid statement.

And before you go insult vegans keep in mind that being one isn't always a choice. Regardless, eating no animal products results in a personal food footprint that is a LOT smaller. That's a fact and not the worst side effect. Once you get off the addiction of meat it's a lot easier to see these things clearer.
I am a river, babe - I've got plenty of time, I don't know where I'm going, I'm just following the lines..... - "We are water" by Shaye
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Old 02-08-2013   #40
Join Date: Oct 2003
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Wamsley, I don't think I'm a hypocrite. I only cooked beef once in the past 40 days, I weigh 110 lbs so I eat less than the average american regardless of what I am eating, I have no yard or running water to the outside of my house, my car hasn't had a bath in almost a year (other than what fell from the sky), and I have even started timing my showers so I am down to just a few minutes.

I do think getting people to completely change their diet is a harder sell with most people than encouraging less outdoor faucet use. Yes it is easier for dimwits like myself to see water pouring into the yards and streets of Denver as wasteful, as opposed to the lunch I just consumed. I do know we are about to lose another river (Fraser River), and almost half of it will be watering lawns in Denver. The boating, fishing, wildlife, and economic benefits that that river brings our community is just as important as your lawns, and it will be missed. I hoped that water conservation would have been a topic that buzzards could unite on, but alas I see even this brings strife here.

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