According to the California Department of Water Resources, California agriculture irrigates 9.6 million acres using roughly 34 million acre-feet of water (1.1 trillion gallons) diverted from surface waters or pumped from groundwater. This water produces amazing results.
California produces over 250 different crops and leads the nation in production of 75 commodities. California is the sole producer of 12 different commodities including almonds, artichokes, dates, figs, raisins, kiwifruit, olives, persimmons, pistachios, prunes and walnuts. Most of this production would not be possible without irrigation.
But agriculture often gets blamed for the West’s water woes. The notion that Central Valley farmers are receiving, and wasting, cheap subsidized water at the expense of urban users and the environment is commonly held. But many in the agricultural community are demonstrating water leadership and moving California toward more equitable and efficient water management and use.
The Oakland, California based Pacific Institute recently released a new report and video entitled California Farm Water Success Stories, which analyzes successful examples of sustainable water policies and practices. The report highlights the best practices of several different agricultural commodities across the state.
Thanks go to The Pacific Institute for their important work, and the agricultural leaders who are helping to demonstrate that we can make progress on water use in California.