Commentary: How Potent An Issue Will Water Be for the Innovation Parks?

How much water does this use now?
How much water does this use now?

The questions are already starting to occur as the drought situation increases from urgent to crisis – where is the water going to come from to supply large developments in Davis?

Water was the subject of a recent letter to the editor with an individual unhappy at the prospect that she may have to allow her stressed trees to die.

She writes, “We don’t have enough water to support our current population but new development continues, not all of which could have been approved more than three or four years ago but is now being built.”

She concludes, “Why has there not been a building moratorium issued at any level of government until this drought ends?”

While water figures to an issue that emerges in opposition to the innovation parks – logic tells us it probably should not be. About 80 percent of water use in California, we learned last week is from agricultural uses.

Given that the two innovation park proposals – Mace Ranch Innovation Center and Davis Innovation Center are being proposed on land currently cultivated and therefore irrigated as well as Nishi – it is unclear that converting to urban usage would increase the water usage on the land.

The city has commissioned environmental impact reports (EIR) that will analogy the impact of the conversion of agricultural land to urban usage. The draft of those reports will come up in June or July. At that time we will have a better means to assess this issue – it could be that urban usage will actually reduce the amount of water used on those properties.

One thing that is clear is that the pace of information these days is very rapid. Without authoritative ability to quickly address concerns, small issues can snowball and misinformation can take on a life of its own.

In an editorial the local paper says today, “Listening’s great, but keep eyes on the goal.”

Writes the Enterprise, “members of the Davis City Council have set out among the populace to find what enthusiasm (if any) there is for a trio of proposed “innovation centers” in Davis. In theory, anyway, this should allow city leaders to get a sense of what the community wants, and how to tailor the proposals to fit with popular desires.”

They argue there are two “potential pitfalls” with this approach. First, “The first is that it may give a small group of motivated citizens an outsized voice in the process. The recent controversy over the city’s use of the Davis :: Engage tool to measure interest in yard-waste pickup is instructive; if 300 people are too small of a sample size, what about the dozen or so who show up at a meeting?”

While that grossly mischaracterizes the concern which was not about the size of the sample, but rather its self-selection, clearly the major point that they make is accurate – the people who are engaged are those who are most interested in the process. That has been the problem for some time as we struggle to engage.

Second the paper points out, describing “the messy nature of an open, democratic forum (especially in a political environment as engaged as ours)” that “everyone has an idea. In this case, people have ideas about traffic, housing, water, building size and sustainability.”

They write, “Input is pouring in from all sides, even though all three projects are in their embryonic stages, and quite different from one another. The sheer volume of input threatens to derail the whole process well before the City Council takes it (never mind it getting to the voters).”

They add, “the specter of growth, that great bogeyman of Davis politics, haunts proceedings.”

However, this is how land use works in Davis – even when there is no vote. The Cannery project had a series of meetings over the years where information was disseminated and public input was meticulously collected. The EIR process has public input.

The only thing likely to derail these projects at this stage are huge and glaring errors. Everything else ends up being adjusted or tweaked as needed.

The paper continues, “The sad fact is that Davis is facing a long-term financial crunch. Dealing with a structural budget deficit, the city has gotten by on service cuts and parcel taxes, but we need a new source of revenue.”

They continue, “Obviously, this community won’t accept the sort of sales-tax-generating shopping centers we see up and down Interstate 80. Walmart is out. Housing space will be exhausted once The Cannery is finished. What’s left? Davis’ last resource is intellectual; to leverage the brainpower coming out of the university to create high-tech industry. Schilling Robotics has become the talisman, a home-grown success story that needs room to grow — and which will go elsewhere if it can’t get it here.”

While the Enterprise is basically correct, adding the housing space point is irrelevant to the issue of revenue as housing is largely revenue neutral at best.

The bottom line for the paper, “So, as we move forward, we hope the council keeps its eyes on the goal. By all means, listen; everyone deserves to have their say.”

That said, the paper misses a lot of critical points here. As someone who has observed the last several issue oriented elections from Wildhorse Ranch in 2009 to some of the schools parcel taxes to the citys’ sales tax and two of the water issues – my observation is that the city and developers and campaigners are not adept a navigating the minefield of modern politics in a town with highly engaged people who take advantage of blogs, social media, letters to the editor, and just word of mouth.

The water issue is instructive in a lot of ways – they were able to get the project approved but not without a lot of heartache. The public was able to put the matter on the ballot twice. While the city was able to get the water project approved in 2013, the rates were thrown out in 2014. Some of that was avoidable had the city (and project proponents) taken the time to address concerns about the water rates.

Likewise last year we saw a sitting school board member essentially forced to resign after a minor scandal snow-balled and the new media world prevented that elected official from controlling the message.

So it is easy to say – keep your eyes on the prize. However, when issues rise up that could divert the discussion, the city and project proponents need to have the ability to course correct and address concerns.

Right now, the water issue is fairly minor and in the background, but it is has a potential to resonate – so why not nip it in the bud now rather than in three months when it has had a chance to take root?

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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  1. hpierce

    “About 80 percent of water use in California, we learned last week is from agricultural uses.”  You’re kidding, right?  Have to assume so, as you indicate you are a California native, went to high school and college, so just find it hard to believe you have recently learned this.  I knew it ~ 40 years ago.  

    1. DanH

      I could not agree more. Californians aware of the water war in this state have known who uses most of the water since the 1960’s and this fact was commonly understood when the Peripheral Canal was defeated by the electorate in 1982.  My geology and geomorphology classes taken in the early 1970’s revealed that Davis would be running critically short of ground water by 2000 and would have to stick a straw into the Sacramento River just like Sacramento and Stockton.

      In fact, most industrial agriculture practiced west of the Mississippi is unsustainable owing to arid climate conditions.



      1. DanH

        I should clarify that Stockton takes water from the San Joaquin River and Sacramento takes water from the Sacramento River as will Davis and Woodland after Woodland Davis Clean Water Agency begins pumping. Both the Sacramento and San Joaquin river systems are part of the same larger watershed that supplies fresh water to the California Delta estuary and San Francisco Bay.

        1. David Greenwald

          I guess I should have put it in quotes. My comment was meant to be tongue-n-cheek in reference to the fifty articles that pointed out how much water was used by agriculture versus urban uses in response to Governor Brown’s regulations. And btw, 50 is not an exact number either.

  2. Davis Progressive

    i agree with frankly from last week, we ought to push forward the narrative that building an innovation park would be a net reduction of water use.

  3. Frankly

    The political left’s love of farm land preservation is really significantly irrational from any ideological perspective.

    The political left tends to be anti-industrialism because industry exploits and consumes natural resources and produces pollutants that negatively impact our natural environment.  The left also has a problem with business where more of the earnings go to owners rather than workers.

    Farming is just a type of industry that exploits scarce natural resources, releases pollutants into the environment and generates earnings that go to owners and provide scant benefits to a relatively small workforce… many who are illegal aliens that send much of their wages back to their home country.

    Lastly, farms are subsidized by taxpayers… money that could otherwise be used to fund social programs.

    Converting farm land into an innovation park would consume less water, release fewer pollutants into the environment, generate greater earnings per acre that benefit far greater numbers of local employees that will enjoy a greater share… and help redirect money from farm subsidy to social programs.

    So then, why would anyone with a left-leaning worldview be against converting farm land into an innovation park?

    1. Davis Progressive

      “The political left’s love of farm land preservation is really significantly irrational from any ideological perspective.”

      i do think that you need to separate love of farm land preservation from political ideology.  in davis there is a split in the political left between the hard no growth position and the more moderate growth.

      1. Davis Progressive

        “So then, why would anyone with a left-leaning worldview be against converting farm land into an innovation park?”

        1. anti-growth

        2. anti-corporate

        3. anti-technology

        4. anti-capitalist

        i’m not saying that all on the left are any of these things, but those are some reasons that people on the left would be against it.

    2. Don Shor

      Farming is just a type of industry that exploits scarce natural resources, releases pollutants into the environment and generates earnings that go to owners and provide scant benefits to a relatively small workforce… many who are illegal aliens that send much of their wages back to their home country….
      why would anyone with a left-leaning worldview be against converting farm land into an innovation park?

      Farms grow food. As to the rest of your anti-agriculture screed, I guess you’re arguing with someone else.

      1. Davis Progressive

        the dilemma seems to be this – california has good land and available land but limited water.  so the question i think the nation needs to think about is whether it is worth it to help california with its water issues.

      2. Frankly

        I’m not anti-agriculture, I am anti-farmland preservation extremism.  I’m also anti farm subsidy.  Lastly, I am pro growing and diverse economy where more people have opportunity for the same good and prosperous life that you and I are lucky enough to have.

        1. Don Shor

          2015/04/09 at 10:26 am: Farming is just a type of industry that exploits scarce natural resources, releases pollutants into the environment and generates earnings that go to owners and provide scant benefits to a relatively small workforce… many who are illegal aliens that send much of their wages back to their home country.

          2015/04/09 at 11:09 am: I’m not anti-agriculture

          No, clearly, you love it.

      3. Frankly

        By the way Don, you are the poster child of my screed about the left.  So many things about the business of farming goes against your ideology it is inevitable that your buttons will be pushed.  Although I understand that your profession makes you much more sympathetic toward and supportive of the business of growing things from the ground using lots of water, I think you need to own up to these other conflicts.

        1. Don Shor

          Um, I am a farmer, I have been a pest control applicator with certification in 8 categories, and I have no idea why you think I would have any hostility to farming.

  4. Frankly

    Oh, and more than 70 percent of all the rainfall in California bypasses collection to ensure that every possible fungi and other living organism other than humans get enough water.  Got to keep that water flowing down our rivers and streams!!!   Southern CA is a good example of the missed opportunities of water collection due to environmental extremism.  It is a dessert area that gets massive rain a few times a year and most of that water is diverted into the ocean in flood control measures.  There is little benefit to any wildlife or plants since it naturally would dissipate quickly.   However, mention a new reservoir and the SoCal liberals will mobilize and find some obscure weed or bug that would be endangered so they can kill the project.

    1. DanH

      Less than 1% of the central California Delta estuary remains in its natural state and what remains is under attack by invasive species and changes in water salinity, depth and turbidity. Farming Delta land since the 1860’s created man-made islands that are now 20′ and more under sea level. Failure of expensive levies around many of these Delta islands threaten the water supply for agriculture and some municipal water systems as distant as the Mojave Desert and the Los Angeles basin.

      I don’t begrudge the use of “environmental water” to maintain what little is left of the what used to be the largest estuary on the US west coast. I like fishies, birds and tules and spend as much time as I can among them.

        1. DanH

          I have never heard of a demand to return the Delta to a non-human state as indigenous peoples lived there for many thousands of years before US settlers drained the land. Maybe you don’t consider them to be human. Maybe you can’t help but laugh at that.

          Much of the central Delta is beyond the possibility of restoration. Many islands have subsided so far that it would take thousands of years of sedimentation to bring them close to sea level again. Restoration in limited areas in the west and north Delta is underway. Liberty Island is one of the better recent examples.

        2. Frankly

          By the way, I used to work on the Bowlsbey Ranch on Liberty Island when I was a teenager.  It was a beautiful piece of land even as it was being farmed and ranched.

    2. hpierce

      Frankly, Frankly (because you are) I take issue with your assertion, ” It is a dessert area (referring to So Cal)”… I find it more to be a purgative.  But that’s just me.  

  5. Don Shor

    With respect to these particular developments, the staff will need to explain clearly where the water for the projects is coming from. Others may have to do the simple analysis as to the water use by developed business parks compared to water use by growing crops on the site. My guess, based on the fact that modern commercial landscaping plans generally have lower landscape coefficients than agricultural crops, and a significant part of each site will be paved over with concrete, would be that building on the acreage will use a lot less water than farming it. It would be easy to quantify that if I were to look at the landscape design plans and know the cropping histories of each site.

    1. Doby Fleeman

      And, then again, if water conservation continues to be a serious problem, we could always encourage the developers to employ a living roof design like Ford Motor Company used at their Rouge Factory in Dearborn, Michigan.   Also, for meaningful comparisons, what would be your guesstimate for annual water demand at the Mace 391 parcel if it were to be planted in almonds?

      1. Frankly

        I made the case about water and Mace 391 and Don would just shout me down that we have copious water to farm all the prime farm land in the area.  I don’t expect him to say he was wrong.

        1. Doby Fleeman

          Well give him a chance.  Maybe it’s how you ask your questions.  I just thought it might be informative for the readers to have a better appreciation of the comparative annual water demand as between 400 acres of tech park (maybe it could even incorporate pervious paving) versus almond orchards.

          1. Don Shor

            It hasn’t been in almond orchards. It has been, if I recall, mostly in processing tomatoes. So be sure to use the right number in your multiplication.
            A business park on the site will use less water than farming. It will also produce no food.
            We have sufficient water in Yolo County for most farmers, most years. Even in this severe drought, farmers in our area are in reasonably good shape. I don’t think the farmers on Mace 391 or Mace 200 are short of water or likely to run short of water, or likely to cause water shortages elsewhere. I don’t think their water is transferable, either, so we will just be gaining a business park and losing farmland. Since Mace 391 is in conservation, and Howatt Ranch is in city ownership, developing Mace 200 is a reasonable compromise. I’m not sure why Frankly wants to keep arguing about farmland and denigrating farming, nor do I really understand what point you are trying to make.

        2. Doby Fleeman


          As I see it, if an Innovation Center developer comes along and buys this agricultural land, which presumably comes with some kind of water rights, and puts in a park which is required (at much higher expense) to use city water for its needs – isn’t the developer actually helping out the overall water demand
          (even if he sells the water rights) for the region by allowing access to more water for the remaining landowners to use for their crops?

          1. Don Shor

            The developer will be bringing the farmland into the city water project. What happens to the water he was using to farm on site is a good question. He doesn’t necessarily have “water rights.” In fact, I doubt he does. He is probably just a customer of a local water district. Or he pumps from a well on site, or both.

        3. Davis Progressive

          don – i do believe that frankly has diverted you off course.  the question isn’t whether we have sufficient water to farm, it’s whether we have sufficient water to develop a single 200 acre innovation park and how the current usage offsets future usage.

        4. Doby Fleeman


          I’ve heard that the Yolo/Solano water table is continuing to drop.  If so, is that strictly a cyclical thing, or is there now evidence of a longer term trend?

          1. Don Shor

            “the Yolo/Solano water table”
            It’s not one aquifer. I’m not blowing off your question. It’s just a complicated answer.

        5. hpierce

          Don (and all):  you are absolutely correct that there are different aquifers, and the ‘availability’ and ‘reliability’ of groundwater is above the ‘pay grade’ of most to fully understand.  The most informed folk, if being truthful, will admit they don’t “know”, but they are capable of giving good, informed opinions.  I’d opine I’m in the ‘upper 5%’ of people who understand the geomorphology, climate, etc. that goes into GW studies (and have probably reviewed more than 100 over the years), and I’d be the first to admit the limitations of my knowledge.

      2. Don Shor

        crop water use
        Multiply the number for the crop by 27,160 gallons to get the gallons per acre, then by the number of acres total.
        Growing food takes a lot of water.

        1. Doby Fleeman

          Thanks for the graphic, that’s a big help.  Now if I only knew what Evapotranspiration meant.  Is that how much water gets pulled up by the living crop during the cycle from seed to seed, or in the case of the almonds for keeping the tree healthy throughout the year plus the value of water encapsulated in the almonds at time of harvest?

        2. hpierce

          Doby… EV = water evaporated from ground, water surfaces (ponds, lakes, etc).  Dependent primarily on temperature and relative humidity.  TR = water released to the atmosphere due to growth processes (plants), or net moisture expelled while breathing, sweating (animals).  Oversimplifying a bit, Evapotranspiration  = EV + TR.

          UCD and other weather stations usually use “pan evaporation” rates to estimate both.  Again, simplifying, they measure how much water ‘disappears’ from a ‘pan’ of water daily.  If there is dew at night, it tends to be accounted for as off-setting the evaporation.  There are more sophisticated analysis methods, but am not familiar enough with those.

          Hope that helps. [Damn good question, as most people don’t think about it]

          1. Don Shor

            And then each crop or landscape plant has a landscape coefficient which is the number you multiply the ET rate by to get its particular water use.

        3. hpierce

          BTW, water is rarely “consumed”.  It either remains in the crop, which when eaten, reduces the water intake need of the consuming organism, or goes back into the atmosphere, where it is then available to return in the form of rain/snow/hail, or just create ‘humidity’, which reduces evapotranspiration.  Gee, I think they call it “the water cycle”.  What a concept!

          Massachusetts/New England had a multi-year drought a few years back.  Ask anyone back there now if they have enough water.

        4. Jim Frame

          I’ve heard that the Yolo/Solano water table is continuing to drop.  If so, is that strictly a cyclical thing, or is there now evidence of a longer term trend?


          As hpierce noted, it’s a complicated subject, and I certainly don’t have the answer.  But to add another dimension to the question:  in certain types of aquifers, when the water level is reduced too far the aquifer is compressed by the mass of land above it, resulting in permanent loss of that portion of the aquifer.  This also lowers the land at the surface, which can have ramifications for things like canal operation, flood protection, and utility pipeline function.

  6. Davis Progressive

    frankly – just as i made the point to don that he allowed you to get this conversation off course, you’re not helping things.  the point here is not to attack farming, it’s to make the case that building a park will not be a problem for water.  anything else is harmful to the conversation.

    1. hpierce

      OK… informing folk about something they might have missed in their education as to aquifers, water balances, is “off point”, and all we should be discussing is innovation parks and “problem for water”.  Well, then I plead guilty to being “harmful to the conversation”.

    2. Frankly

      This was a funny post.  First, I am not attacking farming.  That was just Don being a hyper sensitive reactionary to my continud pointing out that we lack enough water in this state to farm all the prime farmland, and so the farmland preservation zealots are lying when they use the argument of vanishing farmland as a justification for bonehead decisions like Mace 391.  I am simply making the point in response to orignial question about the water usage of an innovation park and the suggestion that we should not build because of the water shortage in the state.  Based on that simplistic logic, we should probably convert all farm land to business parks because we will save on water usage.


      1. Don Shor

        1, Don would just shout me down that we have copious water to farm all the prime farm land in the area.

        moves to…

        2. my continud pointing out that we lack enough water in this state to farm all the prime farmland

        Talk about moving the goal posts. Statement 1 and statement 2 are not even remotely the same things.
        Yes, you were attacking farming.
        No, I’m not hyper sensitive, nor am I a reactionary.
        No, you weren’t pointing out what you now say you were pointing out.
        No, the decision wasn’t boneheaded.
        Well done.
        Do you actually want these business parks to pass, or do you just want to make cheap rhetorical shots all the time?

          1. Don Shor

            You have said local, then statewide. Two totally different things. You have been completely inconsistent. This is actually amazing.
            I have repeatedly told you that farmers in Yolo and Solano Counties have sufficient water to farm. I have said that, very specifically, over and over. And now suddenly you are talking about the statewide water situation? We aren’t one interconnected water system in this state. The more stuff you utter on this topic, pretending to be consistent and rational — always replete with your usual putdowns about land conservation — the more you demonstrate how little you know about local agriculture and our water supplies.
            If you are really suggesting that we should take farmland out of production in Yolo County in order to provide water to farmers in other parts of the state, I do hope you realize what a spectacularly poorly-thought-out proposition that is.
            We don’t have the plumbing to do that.
            It would take revenues away from Yolo County and send them to other areas.
            Those are just two of the problems.
            Also, irrigating local farmland with surface water helps to recharge the shallower aquifers. While we are no longer using those for our ongoing water supply, it is likely that they will become part of our landscape irrigation supplies in the future.
            Every aspect of what you seem to be proposing is simply bad for local agriculture, bad for the economy, and bad for our water supplies. But maybe that isn’t what you are proposing. After all, what you say just in the course of one day is inconsistent. And then you say it is consistent.

        1. Frankly

          My point has been that



          and that




          The average annual precipitation is 18.52 inches (470 mm). On average, precipitation falls on 60 days each year in Sacramento, and nearly all of this falls during the winter months. Average January rainfall is 3.67 in (93 mm), and measurable precipitation is rare during the summer months.

          That has been my position from day one and it has been 100% consistent.  I think you get so agitated over farming and land preservation that you don’t listen. (NOTE I AM USING CAPS HOPING IT WILL HELP YOU LISTEN)

          Now, your point seems to be that we should value prime farmland that is closer to more abundant water supplies, i.e., the Sacramento River.  While I agree that proximity to the Sacramento River is an advantage, this is water that is used by many up ad down the river, and use by ANY farmer can impact the over all supply in drought years.

          You point about farm irrigation recharging aquifers in an interesting one and I admit that I had not considered that.  It would seem that the practice of irrigation is a pretty inefficient way to recharge the ground water with massive evaporation taking place.

          But I guess your point is that Davis farmland is special compared to other similar quality farmland in the state that may lay fallow because of the lack water.  Said another way, it is not the quality of the soil that you are arguing, it is access to water that backs your local farmland preservation views.

          And that my friend is a profound moving of your goalposts.

          1. Don Shor

            Those are not the “points” that you have made before. If you are making them now, fine, we can have that discussion. But it isn’t what you’ve said before, nor is it specifically what you said in this thread.
            This statement is totally false:

            That has been my position from day one and it has been 100% consistent.

            But since you now wish to change the subject to statewide water supplies vis-a-vis Yolo and Solano Counties, we can have that discussion.
            Water for the property being farmed on Mace 200 is probably not coming from the Sacramento River. Farmers in Yolo County get their water via Indian Valley Reservoir, which is outflow from Clear Lake, or from wells, with a few exceptions on the east side. That water cannot in any practical way that I am aware of be transferred to farmers who are further south or, really, anywhere else.
            Water in Solano County largely comes from Solano Irrigation District, which is outflow from Lake Berryessa. That water cannot in any practical way that I am aware of be transferred to farmers who are further south or, really, anywhere else.
            So it really doesn’t matter what the water supply status is of farmers on other prime agricultural land in California, with respect to development or water supply issues in Yolo or Solano Counties.
            That is what I was addressing based on comments you made on this thread, and on other threads.
            The foregoing does not apply to farmers in Yolo County who happen to be directly on the Sacramento River. I assume, for example, that Tsakopolous still has significant water rights based on his company’s ownership of Conaway Ranch land. But that is irrelevant to this discussion.
            So all the stuff you just shouted is IRRELEVANT to ANY development issues in or adjacent to Davis, perhaps with the sole exception of anything Tsakopolous may wish to take out of farm production and build on.
            It is IRRELEVANT to Mace 200. It is IRRELEVANT to Mace 391. It is IRRELEVANT to Nishi and to the site near the hospital.
            There is no direct relationship between the rainfall here and the appropriate farming here because we capture the water in reservoirs, and we have multiple ‘layers’ (aquifers) of groundwater to buffer us from moderate drought conditions. And that is, in fact, true for much of the state. Some are over drafting their groundwater. That needs to be regulated.
            If you are, in fact, proposing that Yolo County should transfer water somehow to farmers to the south of us, I would say that position is not going to get anywhere. Nor should it.

            Now, your point seems to be that we should value prime farmland that is closer to more abundant water supplies, i.e., the Sacramento River.

            Most of our farmers locally don’t get their water from the Sacramento River: certainly not in Solano County, and mostly not in Yolo County. Did you know that? I guess not.
            Irrigating farmland with surface water improves the groundwater situation. At the very least, it helps to stabilize areas where subsidence has/had been occurring. Fortunately for us in Davis, that’s less crucial than it used to be because we are now drawing the municipal water supply from groundwater that is not directly recharged (as far as we know) from above. There appears to be no direct relationship between the water in our deep wells and what falls or is applied to the farmland directly above. That raises interesting and mildly troubling questions in its own right, but since we’ll be augmenting that with surface water it is, we hope, not a serious longterm issue. You may recall this was a part of the debate leading up to the water supply vote; Sue Greenwald was arguing we could tap that deep water for a long time, while others considered that very risky.
            I haven’t moved any goalposts. Now that you’ve completely reframed the terms of the debate, I’m happy to engage on it.
            There is no practical way to make Yolo County water available to other farmers who might need it.
            Even if there were, it would be a terrible policy to pursue.
            It’s irrelevant to the topic at hand: developing a business park on Mace 200. Unless I’m completely mistaken about water supply and water rights for that site (possible), it has literally no bearing on this. Plus, it would make a really lousy campaign slogan: Save Water, Pave Over Farmland and Ship The Water South!
            Don’t think that’s going to fly.

  7. hpierce

    The old ‘rule of thumb’ was that an acre foot of water (~325,850 gallons) was able to support a family of 5 for a year, for household/landscape needs.  Now, it’s very close to 6 people per year.  Better plumbing fixtures (toilets/washers), conservation attitudes, etc.

      1. Don Shor

        Depends on how they’re irrigated, whether the field has cover crop, what the soil’s moisture retention is, and other factors. But in any event, we’d all appreciate it if you would eat more of them.

  8. Clem Kadiddlehopper

    It takes a gallon of water to grow one almond and we ship 80% of our almond crop to China. We’re mortgaging our future for short-term profits.

    I wonder how may almonds we grow in California?

  9. Topcat

    How Potent An Issue Will Water Be for the Innovation Parks?

    To get back to this question that was asked in the headline of the article, I don’t think that the water issue will be much of a factor in defeating the industrial parks.  I think that the additional growth along with congestion and the specter of urban sprawl will be much more compelling to Davis residents.

    1. Doby Fleeman


      I don’t disagree with your conclusion, but I am often perplexed by the concerns you voice.   Isn’t the Davis of today merely a sprawling reflection of post-WWII Davis from the 1950’s?   It would seem, with a few exceptions, that most to today’s residents wouldn’t be – were it not for the sprawl that ensued post 1960.

      Has it been so bad – the sprawl, I mean?   Is there any reason to think that future expansion would not be even better planned and more sustainably conceived?  Is there any reason to believe that Davis would not be able to have learned from the mistakes and congestion which now afflict Palo Alto, and, as a consequence be better equipped to insure better outcomes here in Davis?   Or, put another way, is there nothing about Davis, today, that could be positively enhanced or made better through a thoughtful and concerted effort?

      Is there some fundamental reason that Davis should no longer be the spirited, welcoming host community it has been for the past century and more?   What if there had been no room and no opportunity for Topcat’s family when you arrived in town?   Is this what the conversation has come to?

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