Category: California Drought

New Bill would support California Emergency Drought Relief

On July 30th, U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer introduced the California Emergency Drought Relief Act, a bill with both short and long-term provisions designed to help communities cope with the ongoing drought and combat future droughts.

The bill is the product of months of meetings between Senator Feinstein and her staff, federal, state and local officials, environmental groups, water districts and other stakeholders.

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Toro attends Governor’s ‘Business Leader Summit on the Drought’

This post will be the first in a series of 4 blog posts which will focus on recent events related to Toro’s efforts at the state and national level to improve water and resource use efficiency.

On Thursday, April 16, Governor Brown convened a second summit with representatives from major state water users in Sacramento including the building, hospitality, golf, retail, cemetery and pool and spa industries. Representatives from The Toro Company were among those in attendance.

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Some Central Valley Farmers looking to Recycled Wastewater

Many California farmers are in a tight spot this summer, because their normal water supplies have dried up with the state’s extreme drought. In the state’s Central Valley, that’s driving some farmers to get creative: They’re looking at buying water from cities — not freshwater, but water that’s already gone down the drain.

The parched conditions in the valley, the state’s farming hub, have been crazy. Actually, “crazy wouldn’t adequately describe what we’re going through here,” says Anthea Hansen, who runs the Del Puerto Water District in the Central Valley. “Having zero water available — we’ve been in survival and crisis mode for literally 24 months now,” she says.

What her district needs, she says, is a reliable supply — something that’s there, drought or no drought.

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An estimated $10 Million in Grants Available for California Agriculture

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is now accepting applications for the State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP), authorized by emergency drought legislation (Assembly Bill 91).

An estimated $10 million will be available for competitive grant funding to provide financial assistance to implement irrigation systems that reduce greenhouse gases and save water on California agricultural operations.

The funding is made available through the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, the proceeds of California’s greenhouse gas Cap and Trade program.

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WATER EFFICIENCY EQUATION: Reducing Use Per Unit Gaining Traction

With California now firmly entrenched in its fourth drought year in a row, the irrigation industry is rightly focused on water efficiency.

Paul McFadden, who is senior sales manager for Toro Micro-Irrigation, El Cajon, CA, said while the focus is clear, that doesn’t always mean using less water. “It’s an equation: units of input vs. units of output.”

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California Drought Update: Governor Directs First Ever Statewide Mandatory Water Reductions

Following the lowest snowpack ever recorded and with no end to the California drought in sight, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. announced actions to save water, increase enforcement to prevent wasteful water use, streamline the state’s drought response and invest in new technologies that will make California more drought resilient.

“Today we are standing on dry grass where there should be five feet of snow. This historic drought demands unprecedented action,” said Governor Brown. “Therefore, I’m issuing an executive order mandating substantial water reductions across our state. As Californians, we must pull together and save water in every way possible.”

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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 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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