In an apparent reference to the 1.4 trillion gallons of water (paywall) that have been pumped into the San Francisco Bay since 2008, largely to save the delta smelt’s dwindling population.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the water funneled for the delta smelt would have been enough to sustain 6.4 million Californians for six years, whereas it yielded just eight fish in the fall of 2014.
That sounds pretty damning. But how much could it have aided California’s farmers, who are apparently on the losing end of this equation?
Well, the golden state is the nation’s leading producer of almonds, artichokes, dates, figs, kiwifruit, olives, peaches, pistachios, plums, pomegranates, walnuts, and dozens of other agricultural commodities, according to a 2012 Department of Agriculture report (pdf). And farmers command a large share of the state’s water supply—about 40%, according to the Public Policy Institute of California.
Based on the number of almond acres in the state, Slate calculated that California uses 1.1 trillion gallons of water each year to farm almonds alone.