Study: Farmers Could Save More Water, Money

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(Sacramento, CA)
Monday, September 8, 2008

The study is by the Pacific Institute. Peter Gleick heads the Oakland-based environmental think tank. He says farmers could save water, money and the Delta if they stop growing water-intensive crops. 

"…away from reliance on field crops – alfalfa, irrigated pasture, rice, corn, that sort of thing – toward more vegetable crops."   

Gleick says changing which crops are grown…along with installing drip irrigation systems would help farmers save enough water to fill up to 20 new reservoirs a year. But Dave Kranz with the California Farm Bureau Federation disagrees. 

"Improved efficiency alone just won’t do enough to meet the growing water needs of California’s increasing population."  

Kranz says a whole variety of strategies will be needed to meet state water demands…including new water storage. And he says farmers must be free to choose crops based on consumer demand and on appropriate climate and soil conditions.