how much water to grow almonds

It Takes HOW Much Water to Grow Almonds? The Water Footprint of Nuts

It’s no secret that California is in the midst of a severe drought. So it may come as a surprise to learn that one of California’s biggest crops is almonds. “It takes how much water to grow almonds?” is a natural reaction when you hear the numbers. Find them below!
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How Much Water Does It Take to Grow One Almond?

First, let’s discuss how much water to grow almonds is required per nut. One almond takes approximately one gallon of water to grow. The number includes the water used for irrigation and rainwater that is naturally captured by the tree. This is nuts!

But it only gets worse when you scale this up to how many almonds are grown in California each year. In 2020, the state produced 3.1 billion pounds of almonds. To calculate the water footprint of that many almonds, read on. We’ll answer the question, “How much water does it take to grow almonds in pounds?”

How Much Water to Grow Almonds in Pounds?

One almond weighs around 0.05 oz. A pound of almonds contains 320 to 400 almonds. So, how much water to grow almonds is required per pound? Up to 400 gallons if you calculate it that way. But some sources say it’s closer to 1,900 gallons per pound – why the discrepancy?

The answer probably has to do with how “virtual water” is factored in. You can think of virtual water as the hidden water used to produce a product. It includes the water used to grow the food, plus the water used for packaging, processing, and transportation.

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For example, if you buy a bottle of water that was packaged in China and shipped to the United States, the virtual water footprint of that bottle is much higher than if you bought a bottle of water that was bottled in the U.S.

Taking that into account, California uses up 400 gallons per pound of almonds that it produces for its own market. If we take that number and multiply it by 3.1 billion, it turns out that it takes how much water to grow almonds in that state? A whopping 1.24 trillion gallons!

Are Almond Trees Responsible for Water Shortages?

With such a large water footprint, it’s no wonder that almond trees have been blamed for contributing to water shortages in California.

But the reality is that almonds are just one of many crops grown in the state. In fact, they’re not even the crop with the largest water footprint. That honor goes to alfalfa, which is used as feed for dairy cows. So, while almonds are certainly a thirsty crop, they’re not solely responsible for the state’s water woes.

So before you think, “It takes how much water to grow almonds?” next time you eat them, remember that they’re just one part of a complex water equation. And while we all need to do our part to conserve water, it’s important to remember that almonds (and other crops) are a vital part of California’s economy.

How Much Water Do Almond Trees Need If You’re Growing Them?

If you came here looking for information on how often you should water your own almond trees, the answer is: it depends. The amount of water an almond tree needs can vary depending on the climate, the type of tree, and how well-established the roots are. In general, though, you should expect to water your trees once every 10–14 days during the growing season.

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What Nuts Contribute to Droughts the Least?

Almonds are not the only nut that drinks lots of water. Pistachios, for example, have the same water footprint as almonds (approximately one gallon per nut). Hazelnuts, on the other hand, have a much smaller water footprint. It takes around 1,260 gallons of water to produce one pound of hazelnuts, compared to 1,929 given for almonds.

Still, all nuts are thirsty plants. And as the world’s population continues to grow, it’s likely that we’ll see more and more pressure on our water resources. That’s why it’s so important to be mindful of how much water we use – not just when we’re watering our own gardens, but also when we’re making choices about the food we eat.

Do you have any questions similar to “How much water does it take to grow almonds?” or “How often should I water my almond tree?” Be sure to leave them in the comments below. We’ll do our best to answer them!

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