California has been spared from drought this year, but the state’s water problems are far from over.
As rural and urban interests compete for a finite water supply, agricultural interests could find themselves on the short end of the stick, especially if it is perceived that farms aren’t using water as efficiently as possible.
But a new report refutes the notion that if farmers would just conserve more water, large new supplies would open up for the rest of the population.
Agricultural conservation would account for just 1.3 percent of the existing farm water supplies and only 0.5 percent of the state’s total water use, according the report from The Center for Irrigation Technology at Fresno State University.
“Claims that California farmers are wasteful and inefficient when it comes to managing their water supplies are inaccurate,” the report said.
The report goes on to say there is not enough developed water now to serve all interests. And, there is little political will to fix the problem because it would require billions of dollars in infrastructure improvements.
“It appears that our society is entering an age where the limits of both our natural and economic resources have been reached,” the report said. “California is dealing with several critical resource-management issues at the same time — energy supply and costs, air quality, water quality, and the overall water supply, not to mention the unknown future effects of climate change.”