Irrigation supply stores throughout California report brisk sales, and irrigation experts say extreme drought has prompted a closer look at emerging technology to help stretch dwindling water supplies.
California farmers invested more than $3 billion in improved irrigation technology between 2003 and 2013, according to Danny Merkley, California Farm Bureau Federation water resources director.
“Already, farmers have upgraded irrigation systems on more than 2.6 million acres statewide,” Merkley said. Many farmers and ranchers see technology as a way to accelerate water supply management capability and better integrate a variety of operations, while noting that a combination of efficiency improvements and investment in new water storage and recycling will be needed to assure future supplies.
“I’ve worked in two-dozen countries consulting on various aspects of applied irrigation technology, and find California farmers are doing an outstanding job of adopting technology for better water management,” said Charles Burt, chairman of the Irrigation Training and Research Center at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.Continue reading