Are farmers wasting water?

Sprinklers water a field of poblano peppers at B&T Farms in Gilroy, Calif., on Tuesday, April 9, 2019. Photo by Randy Vazquez, Bay Area News Group
Sprinklers water a field of poblano peppers at B&T Farms in Gilroy, Calif., on Tuesday, April 9, 2019. Photo by Randy Vazquez, Bay Area News Group

Some farmers use water inefficiently, but in general, they try to squeeze as much “crop per drop” as possible. Many growers have retired flood irrigation and wasteful sprinklers and adopted drip irrigation systems. They also use technology that autonomously monitors soil moisture and remotely opens and closes water valves. 

Almond growers, for example, grow each nut with one-third less water than 20 years ago. However, because acreage has more than doubled, the industry still uses more water than it did.