Don Cameron, president of the State Board of Food and Agriculture, believes farmers in water-rich areas have been slow to transition to new conservation practices and technologies.
“Farmers need to recognize that this water is valuable,” said Cameron, during a panel discussion on drought for the Public Policy Institute of California on Wednesday. “They need to conserve it, and they need to be able to spread it throughout the region.”
On his farm near Fresno, Cameron has cut water use more than 25% through drip and micro irrigation, along with automation. He and his neighbors have revived their local resource conservation district to prepare for farmland fallowing—a challenge that requires cooperation with environmental groups, he said.
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Cameron pushed for accelerating funding for groundwater recharge projects, since wet years may come just once every five to seven years under the new normal. His local groundwater sustainability agency, for example, sees potential for banking 1.8 million acre-feet of water beneath 125,000 acres of land.