Tag: central valley

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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Central Valley Farmers Cope with Water Supply Cut, Convert to Drip Irrigation

Cutbacks on water delivery from the federal Central Valley Project has left farmers, like Ted Sheeley, looking for ways to cut their water use.  Sheeley, who farms in the Huron area, western Kings County, and eastern Fresno County, has traditionally used flood and sprinkler irrigation, but with the water cutbacks, it is difficult to fulfill his processing tomato and cotton contracts.  Sheeley has begun converting his flood and sprinkler irrigated fields to drip irrigation to optimize his water use and plans to be completely converted within 3 to 4 years.

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Good Water Management: A Wise Business Decision

Increasing water costs and water scarcity are becoming critical issues that are affecting the bottom lines for growers’ businesses. Whether these issues are the result of droughts, environmental concerns, or water regulations, the fact is that growers need to improve their water management techniques.

In a recent online article in Growing Produce, Michael Cahn highlights how growers in California are utilizing drip irrigation to improve their water management and crop quality. In one paragraph, Cahn writes, “In the Central Valley where surface water allocations can be limited during drought years, drip has allowed growers to farm more acres with less water. Besides saving water, drip provides more management options for growers. Under drip, tractor operations are less likely to be hampered by saturated furrows and application uniformity under drip is not affected by wind, which is common in the afternoon along the coast. Additionally, drip can reduce foliar disease pressure in crops by keeping leaves dry.”

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