Category: California Drought

2015 Irrigation Efficiency Program

In 2014, Staples Energy’s Low-Pressure Irrigation Efficiency Program successfully saved over 3800 kW of energy and gave growers over $1.2 million in incentive savings. Now, Staples is continuing the incentives through 2015 with a new 2015 Irrigation Efficiency Program.

NEW 2015 Irrigation Efficiency Program
The Staples Irrigation Efficiency program will provide incentives to any irrigation design which can demonstrate energy/water savings. The program will offer almost unlimited possibilities for submitting savings for rebates instead of only two “deemed” projects with set values for incentives.

Projects can use a combination of energy and water savings to calculate the kWh savings for projects. This allows flexibility for incentivizing all types of real-world, energy-efficient irrigation projects. As long as a project can be calculated to show a savings, it can be submitted to the Staples program.

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California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) Funds Water Efficient Projects for Drought Assistance

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has awarded $3.6 million for 93 different projects to implement on-farm water irrigation systems that reduce water and energy use, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). The funding for the State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP) is part of emergency drought Legislation (SB 103) signed earlier this year by Governor Brown – authorizing CDFA to distribute as much as $10 million for eligible projects. The money comes from the state’s portion of Cap-and-Trade auction proceeds.  The proceeds are deposited in the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund and appropriated to state agencies. The first round of drought assistance funding will be for projects that include water-efficiency modifications like drip irrigation and micro-sprinkler systems; energy-efficient water pumps that reduce GHG emissions; soil moisture sensors; and irrigation scheduling programs that apply water based on crop needs. This program is the first of its kind at

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California Utility Company Can Help Farmers Save Water During Drought

orchard drip irrigationCalifornia Utility company, PG&E, sees a big opportunity to help farmers reduce their water use and electricity use, at the same time. By doing so, it can save precious water, help farmers save money, and help the power company itself reduce overall electricity demand – which means avoiding having to build costly new power plants.

PG&E has a few tools at its disposal, the biggest being financial incentives to help farmers switch to water-saving technologies such as drip irrigation.

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Cutting-Edge Farmer Uses Drip Irrigation and Other Techniques to Maximize Water Efficiency

Don Cameron, a member of California’s State Board of Food and Agriculture and general manager of Terranova Ranch, is on the cutting edge of irrigation. His wine grape vineyards stretch for 1,300 acres, so maximizing water is a top priority. Cameron has used drip irrigation on these vineyards since 1982, a time when drip was still uncommon.

Making the switch to micro-irrigation has saved Terranova Ranch 15-20 percent on water costs. When Cameron took over as general manager, he recalls, “I was told we couldn’t grow tomatoes. I was told the ground was too light.” Processing tomatoes now occupy 2,300 acres at Terranova, due in large part to Cameron’s implementation of drip systems. He contends, “We eliminate evaporation from the soil surface and provide uniform distribution of water and reduce fertilizer usage along with producing a 28 percent higher yield. We no longer have excess water accumulation at the end of fields as we did when we furrow irrigated.”

But drip irrigation isn’t the only practice that makes Cameron a pioneer in water use efficiency.

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California Farmer Seeks Greater Efficiency with Drip Irrigation

According to second generation farmer, Pete Aiello, “there has been a lot of finger pointing as California endures a drought, and most of it seems to be directed toward agriculture.”

“California farmers do their best to make every drop of water count,” Pete says. “My family’s farm started installing drip irrigation systems in 1985. Local experts estimate that 80 percent of Santa Clara County’s irrigation is done through low-volume irrigation such as drip tape and micro sprinklers.”

Learn more about Pete Aiello’s take on agriculture, the California drought, and drip irrigation by clicking the title or the following link:

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Farmers Looking to Use Surface Drip Irrigation Amid California Drought

Although underground irrigation is still a common way to water crops and fields, some farmers and landowners are moving to use surface irrigation amid one of the worst droughts in state history.

Underground irrigation delivers water through buried tubing or pipes while surface drip irrigation is positioned above the ground and is not permanent.

Aric Barcellos, with A-Bar Ag Enterprises, whose family business owns 8,000 acres along the West Side of Merced County, is one of many farmers who are becoming more serious about using surface drip systems to irrigate.

A-Bar Ag Enterprises farms cotton, tomatoes, asparagus, pomegranates, wheat, melons, onions and pistachios, and receives water from several water districts

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California Drought Financial Assistance Program – Application Deadline March 3, 2014

Drought_CropThe 2014 California Drought is creating especially dire conditions for the State’s farmers and ranchers. Though we can’t change the weather, we can prepare and convert to irrigation efficient technologies, such as drip irrigation, to reduce the effects of this and future droughts.

To help farmers and ranchers implement conservation and irrigation efficient practices, NRCS (Natural Resources Conservation Service) is offering technical help and financial assistance through EQIP (The Environmental Quality Incentives Program), a voluntary cost share program.

The NRCS has committed a $25 million fund pool specifically for Drought Assistance through EQIP, and will work closely with producers to ensure successful implementation.

But don’t wait to take advantage of this great opportunity to finance and implement conservation or irrigation efficient technologies because the deadline for Drought Assistance EQIP is right around the corner — all applications must be received by March 3, 2014!

To apply, visit your local USDA service center.

Click here to find your local USDA service center, or visit for more information.

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California Drought Reveals the Need to Switch to Drip Irrigation

With no end in sight to California’s record drought, state leaders are right to focus most of the $687 million relief package they announced Wednesday on longer-term efforts to conserve and recycle water.

But if we’re really all in this together, leaders must pay far more attention to the biggest user — agriculture, which takes anywhere from 62% to 75% of available water in a given year, depending on how that consumption is measured.

As The Sacramento Bee’s Matt Weiser reported on Sunday, while more farmers are using drip irrigation, which is far more efficient than flooding fields, many are stuck in the old ways. And while urban water systems must reduce per capita water use 20% by 2020 or risk losing state money, state law does not put the agricultural sector under similar conservation requirements.

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Irrigation Efficiency Rebate Program

The Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) and Staples Energy have collaborated to offer growers the “Low-Pressure Irrigation Efficiency Program” — a great opportunity for growers to save energy and water. People who participate will also get a free energy assessment of their current irrigation system and learn about other PG&E programs available.

Efficiency Made Affordable: Qualifying projects receive $5.00 per low-pressure sprinkler replaced or $144 per acre for sprinkler to drip conversions.

Staples Energy is working with a trusted network of irrigation manufacturers and local dealers to assess systems for savings opportunities, as well as provide growers with recommendations on low-pressure sprinklers or drip irrigation conversion options.

Plus, the process is easy, hassle-free, and growers can work with trusted, participating local irrigation suppliers to install the products they choose. The customer product incentives – $5.00 for each sprinkler or $144 per acre for sprinkler to drip conversions – are paid up front, directly to the dealer. That means growers see the incentives come right off the bottom-line price of their installation costs.

Click here to download the Low-Pressure Irrigation Efficiency Program brochure.

Click here for a current list of participating irrigation suppliers and dealers.

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Amid Drought, California Farmers Rely on Water Equipment Companies

California’s drought could prove devastating to the state’s farmers and ranchers. But the dry spell has brought a gusher of new business to companies that provide them with water.

That much was clear at this year’s World Ag Expo, which kicked off Tuesday in Tulare, a town of 60,000 about 45 miles south of Fresno. At one booth was a well repair company that had to add extra shifts to meet all the agricultural demand for groundwater. Nearby, a firm that provides turbine pumps for wells said orders were coming in so furiously it was running out of parts. And several feet away, a drip irrigation maker said it was taking orders from farmers months ahead of schedule as the prospect of enough rain over the winter appeared remote.

The World Ag Expo is the largest farm equipment show in the world — a three-day extravaganza of high-tech tractors, automated dairy milkers and mechanized tree harvesters on 2.6 million square feet of fertile Central California soil.

But this year, the annual event is also a window into the frantic struggle taking place to keep the world supplied with fruit, nuts and vegetables from the Golden State. Amid what could be one of the worst droughts in California’s recorded history, growers are relying on a host of companies to help them deliver what water remains to their fields.

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