The California State Board of Food and Agriculture will focus on groundwater supply issues at its upcoming meeting on Tuesday, November 5th in Sacramento. This meeting will be held from 10:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the California Department of Food and Agriculture, 1220 ‘N’ Street – Main Auditorium, Sacramento, CA 95814.
“Groundwater plays a critical role in California’s water supply, but greater reliance upon this precious resource during times of drought increases the challenges we face,” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross. “Managing groundwater at the local and regional level is effective but must relate to California’s overall water management plan. Issues of overdraft, impaired water quality, salinity accumulation and land subsidence must be addressed to ensure sustainable groundwater management and the long-term vitality of agriculture.”
California’s groundwater supply provides about 40 to 50 percent of total annual water use for agricultural and urban purposes. In 2009, the U.S. Geological Survey reported that for water years 1962-2003, California’s Central Valley aquifer was depleted by almost 60 million acre-feet – the equivalent of providing every resident of California with water for eight years. In addition, the Central Valley is the second-most-pumped aquifer in the United States, accounting for approximately 20 percent of the nation’s groundwater demand. California is the largest agricultural producer in the United States with farm revenue of $44.7 billion – an estimated seven percent of the total U.S. food supply comes from the Central Valley.
Invited speakers include: Jay Famiglietti, UC Center for Hydrologic Modeling, University of California, Irvine; Jim Branham, Sierra Nevada Conservancy; Martha Conklin, University of California, Merced; Dr. Ruth Langridge, University of California, Santa Cruz; Steve Phillips, U.S. Geological Survey; Eric Oppenheimer, State Water Resources Control Board; Clay Rodgers, Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board; Karen Christensen, Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County; Kelley Bell, Driscoll’s; Jerry Reaugh, Paso Robles Agricultural Alliance for Groundwater Solutions, and E. Michael Solomon, United Water Conservation District.
“Water remains one of the most critical topics for this Board,” said Craig McNamara, president of the California State Board of Food and Agriculture. “We cannot have the level of farming in this state that generations of consumers are used to unless we manage our water resources effectively and efficiently. Our rural communities and farmers deserve no less.”
The California State Board of Food and Agriculture advises the governor and the CDFA secretary on agricultural issues and consumer needs. The state board conducts forums that bring together local, state and federal government officials, agricultural representative and citizens to discuss current issues of concern to California agriculture.
This meeting will be streamed online at: www.cdfa.ca.gov/LiveMediaStream.html