Water Challenges Make Conservation Standard

Taylor Hillman Drought, Water

Conservation will likely be a regular practice for California’s water future even when changes come to the water system. Challenges continue again this year despite an increase in precipitation this winter, and groups say updates are needed.

Conservation Here to Stay Amid Challenges

California Farm Water Coalition Executive Director Mike Wade spoke recently at Western Agricultural Processors Association’s annual meeting. He said the state did get some decent water from El Nino this winter, but primarily in the northern part of the state.

Conservation Here to Stay

Wade says even if other areas saw more rain, conservation will likely be a standard operation for the state moving forward. “We always need to conserve in California; that’s probably going to be our future,” Wade says. “We did get some wet weather this year. Shasta and Oroville are filled and we had expectations there would be some significant water deliveries, at least much improved over last year, and it doesn’t look like that will happen for some growers this year.”

Fixing the Delta

Wade addressed the California Water Fix plan that will build new tunnels in the system. He says the coalition hasn’t made a decision on the project, but they do know that something needs to be done to balance out water management. “We haven’t taken a position on the California Water Fix yet as a project itself,” Wade says. “What we do say is that we need to fix conveyance through the Delta. It’s not working for the environment. Fish populations continue to crash and we are limiting the amount water being delivered to farmers. We gotta have some resolution. We want to see fish populations return, but we gotta be able to deliver water to farmers reliably.”