Water, Roads, Airports, Ports Impacted by Holiday

When gathering around the table with friends and family on Thanksgiving, it is customary to be grateful for many things. However, infrastructure likely never comes into the conversation. Perhaps this year it should. Infrastructure is something we all take for granted until it’s not working properly. Take a moment this holiday to raise your awareness on how infrastructure impacts you, give thanks for what we have, and be grateful for investments being made to improve SoCal infrastructure.

Water

The historic drought is greatly impacting “America’s breadbasket.” California leads the nation with the most agriculture and dairy products. It’s very likely that the foods on your Thanksgiving table came from The Golden State. Agriculture accounts for approximately 80 to 90% of the nation’s consumptive water use. Here’s how much water it takes to produce some of the items in your feast:

  • Turkey: 266 gallons per pound.
  • Ham: 576 gallons per pound.
  • Potatoes: 34 gallons per pound.
  • Sweet potatoes: 46 gallons per pound.
  • Bread: 240 gallons for a loaf.
  • Butter: 665 gallons for a pound.
  • Broccoli (cauliflower or Brussel sprouts): 34 gallons per pound. 
  • Asparagus: 258 gallons per pound.
  • Corn: 146 gallons per pound.
  • Milk: 16 gallons per 8-ounce glass.
  • Soda: 46 gallons for a small glass of soda.
  • Beer: 28 gallons for a 12-ounce serving.
  • Wine: 34 gallons for an 8-ounce serving.
  • Raisins in the stuffing? 292 gallons per pound.
  • Using olive oil to cook? 1,729 gallons per pound.
  • Pumpkin in your pie? 864 gallons per pound.

Water is also an important item for washing hands and dishes, and all those toilet flushes during the day. Here are some quick holiday tips for saving water:

  • Thaw the turkey in the refrigerator rather than using a running tap of hot water.
  • Scrape plates instead of rinsing it before loading it into the dishwasher.
  • Make sure the dishwasher is fully loaded before running.

Roads

Singing “Over the River and Through the Wood” as you head to grandmother’s house? In California, you’re not likely to use a sleigh but a car instead. More than 2,400 lane miles of pavement, more than 37,500 feet of guardrail, and nearly 950 highway lights and traffic signals have been repaired to date thanks to SB 1, the landmark transportation act. Many other projects are in the works.

Roads are also important for getting cranberries on your table as farms are located outside the state. Ocean Spray, one of the biggest producers in the country, has growers in Washington, Oregon and Massachusetts, 3,017 miles from Southern California. (It also takes bogs flooded with approximately 18 inches of water just to harvest the berries.)

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Airports 

The week of Thanksgiving is typically the busiest travel week of the year. Even during the pandemic, the Wednesday before the holiday was the busiest air travel day of 2020, when 1,070,967 passengers cleared airport security on that day.

Travel volume has increased in the last year, in fact Ontario International Airport is seeing a strong recovery. While airports aren’t yet back to pre-pandemic levels (the TSA screened a record 26 million passengers and crew in 2019), Matt Clarke, the VP of marketing at online travel agency, Kayak, says, “We’re already seeing significant momentum around international and domestic flight searches when compared to 2020, up 155 percent and 212 percent, respectively.”

Ports 

If waking early to shop Black Friday is baked into your holiday tradition, Gene Seroka, the executive director of the Port of Los Angeles, instead recommends Americans do their Christmas shopping early. 

The Port of Long Beach and Port of Los Angeles shifted to 24/7 operations to help get ships unloaded so stores can be stocked in time for holiday shopping. Nearly 40% of all seaborne imports to the United States come through these two gateways. 

With consumer demands up 22% (compared with pre-pandemic levels)

Gov. Gavin Newsom is now asking California’s finance department to come up with spending proposals for the January budget to improve port infrastructure.

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Rebuild SoCal Partnership! Keep up-to-date on important infrastructure issues by signing up for the Rebuild SoCal Partnership newsletter. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and  listen to The Rebuild SoCal Zone podcast.