Toxic Crops: Oil Wastewater Irrigating California Fields
In the nation’s produce basket, some California water districts are knowingly selling oilfield wastewater to farmers, putting a huge portion of our fruits and vegetables at risk of contamination. Watchdog group Water Defense uncovered one district buying oilfield wastewater to include in the water it sells to farmers to irrigate crops in California’s Central Valley. This year, Food & Water Watch uncovered another district buying this potentially toxic wastewater and selling it to farmers.
A threat to California’s agriculture is a threat to the entire country’s food supply. Some staples of which California is the primary U.S. producer include 99 percent of olives, 99 percent of almonds, 98 percent of garlic, 96 percent of broccoli, 95 percent of celery, 91 percent of strawberries, 91 percent of lemons and 83 percent of fresh carrots.
The government is allowing oil companies to sell their wastewater for use on crops. Citizens must call on their elected representatives to fix this broken system and protect our food supply.
This article appears in the March 2017 issue of Natural Awakenings.