California is in a drought and we need to conserve water.

It’s a familiar message. But how does conservation by individuals and homeowners really matter?

Professor Ben Ruddle from Northern Arizona University joined 5 Live Thursday to discuss this issue.

“Conservation is still important because every drop we save in the city is another cheeseburger or salad that we get to eat,” Ruddle said. “I think it’s important for everybody to have a sense of responsibility for this.”

According to a report from the Public Policy Institute of California, an independent think tank, California cities only account for 10% of the state’s water usage.

50% is allocated for environmental purposes, like waterways and wetlands, and 40% goes agricultural usage, which is used to grow food.

Food such as almonds, avocados and beef get a bad reputation since a lot of water is required to cultivate those products. But Ruddle says giving up your favorite foods isn’t the best way to support conservation.

Instead, he believes the agriculture industry should reduce the water used to grow feed for cattle.

“During drier years, if less hay is grown, that saves a lot of water very fast and affordability,” Ruddle said. Cows can also eat other food like corn that doesn’t require as much water.