Ten Crops That Demand Massive Amounts of Water as Drought Grips West

By Katy Galimberti, AccuWeather.com Staff Writer
August 2, 2014; 7:30 AM ET
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As much of the West continues to be plagued by intense drought, the production of favorite and trendy foods may be more challenging for states operating in dry conditions.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, states such as California, Texas and Nevada are suffering the most. These states produce a variety of hip, healthy foods, and the challenge of producing some crops becomes difficult when water is less readily available.

Drought can make for harsh farming conditions as much of the West struggles with dry conditions and a lack of rainfall. (Flickr/Marsel Minga)

Along with other favorites such as coffee and chocolate, the massive volume of water needed to produce these goods can be alarming, especially when compared to the rise in drought conditions.

California is know for its wine country, but with the drought, certain crops like grapes may be at risk.

After all, it takes nearly 29 gallons of water to produce one single glass of wine according to WaterStat, a Netherlands-based learning community that provides free information about water use around the world.

Grapes are an essential good in terms of economic stability for the state as the second largest crop in terms of value of production in 2013. Wine production amounted to a value greater than $3 billion in 2013 alone.

As of July 31, over 50 percent of California is under the highest drought classification making for strenuous farming practices for all crops, including the world-renowned California grapes.

"The ongoing three-year severe drought in California is causing farmers to leave fallow hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland," AccuWeather West Coast Expert Senior Meteorologist Ken Clark said. "This is not only causing a severe hardship on the farmers but is also limiting the amount of food coming from this vital growing area in the U.S."

California's crop with the most value of production in 2013 was almonds, a healthy snack that has soared in popularity. Texas, another state trying to battle drought, boasts cotton as the number one crop with the highest production value last year. For other states suffering under the drought, wheat crops, potatoes, wheat, melons and dairy are all consumed regularly across the world, but a high volume of water is necessary for production.

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Here are the surprising stats about the water needed to produce some of the most important crops for states and other favorite foods:


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