DWR and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation are gearing up for the hot and dry summer months as the state experiences a third consecutive year of severe drought.
Agricultural Water Use Efficiency
California is one of the most productive agricultural regions in the world, and is the major producer of many nuts, fruits, and vegetables. In fact, California is the only producer of 13 commodities and is a top producer of more than 74 different commodities in the U.S. The state exports a huge quantity of agricultural products, bringing more than $20 billion into California’s economy.
California’s agricultural success would not be possible without irrigation. In an average year, approximately 9.6 million acres are irrigated with roughly 34 million acre-feet of water; an amount that would cover 31 million football fields with 1 foot of water. Most of this irrigation water is used very efficiently.
What do we mean by “used efficiently?” This means that water that isn’t used on one farm is used on another, so that the same amount of water can be used to produce more crops. Also, this water can be used to help recharge groundwater.
Yet, considering that agriculture accounts for approximately 80 percent of all the water used in California, even small improvements in agricultural water use efficiency can be significant.We work with the agricultural community and other stakeholders to find solutions for improving agricultural water-use efficiency and to meet State agricultural water management and measurement requirements.
The Water Conservation Act of 2009 (SB X7-7) requires agricultural water suppliers serving more than 25,000 irrigated acres (excluding recycled water deliveries) to adopt and submit to DWR an Agricultural Water Management Plan (AWMP). These plans must include reports on the implementation status of specific Efficient Water Management Practices (EWMPs) that were required under SB X7-7.
Agricultural water suppliers can submit individual plans or collaborate and submit regional plans, as long as the plans meet the requirements of SB X7-7. Agricultural water suppliers that provide water to between 10,000 and up to 25,000 irrigated acres (excluding recycled water) are not required to prepare or submit AWMPs under SB X7-7, unless state funds are made available to support this.
DWR has updated the Agricultural Water Management Plan Guidebook for preparing 2020 AWMPs (AWMPs must be adopted by April 1, 2021 and submitted to DWR within 30 days of adoption). See the Public Review Draft of the 2020 AWMP Guidebook for more information.
UPDATE: DWR is accepting comments on the Public Review Draft through September 28, 2020.
Comments can be submitted by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
An on-line public workshop was held on September 16, 2020 to solicit feedback and comments. Details and registration for this workshop are available on the DWR Events page.
View the AWMP 2020 Guidebook Public Workshop and Agenda for more information.
Summary of 2015 Agricultural Water Management Plans Submitted
In 2015, an estimated 54 agricultural water suppliers met the 25,000-acre threshold representing approximately 4,074,400 irrigated acres. The number of water suppliers who supply to more than 25,000 acres and who were required to submit an AWMP:
- Submitted AWMP – 47
- Notified DWR an AWMP is in progress – 0
- Not submitted AWMP – 7
In 2016, there were an estimated 39 agricultural water suppliers in the 10,000 to 25,000 irrigated acres category, represented approximately 594,600 irrigated acres. The number of water suppliers who supply to 10,000 - 25,000 acres and who were required to submit a 2015 AWMP by July 1, 2016:
- Submitted AWMP – 26
- Notified DWR an AWMP is in progress – 5
- Not submitted AWMP – 8
The Agricultural Water Management Plan Guidebook is undergoing revision for 2020 requirements. Please contact us if you would like a copy of the 2015 Guidebook.
Summary of 2012 Agricultural Water Management Plans Submitted
An estimated 54 agricultural water suppliers met the 25,000-acre minimum threshold and are required by SB X7-7 to submit water management plans. Below is the status of the 2012 Agricultural Water Management Plan review as of August 10, 2015, including a link to a list and the submittal status for each individual agency.
- AWMP not submitted – 6.
- AWMP submitted and requirements addressed – 44.
- AWMP in progress, awaiting review, or under review – 4.
- Water suppliers who voluntarily submitted AWMP, but are not required to report – 21.
Requirements for farm-gate agricultural water delivery reporting in effect since 2019:
Agricultural water suppliers now submit reports online.
Reporting must be by groundwater basin/sub-basin (Section 531.10 of the Water Code)*
The Aggregated Farm-gate Delivery Form is due by April 1 of each year for the preceding calendar year.
Who Must File?
Agricultural water suppliers who deliver 2,000 or more acre-feet of water or supply to 2,000 or more irrigated acres.
What Must Be Filed?
Agricultural water suppliers who fit the above requirements must submit an annual report on the total aggregated amount of surface water they delivered to their agricultural customers along with a description of best professional practices for determining deliveries.
How To File:
Farm-gate reports must now be submitted electronically.
Use the Agricultural Aggregated Farm-Gate1 Delivery Reporting Form for Article 2 (California Code of Regulations, Title 23, Division 2, Chapter 5.1, Article 2, Section 597*) in the WUEdata Portal.
The form includes four sections:
- Section 1: To report basic information about the water supplier.
- Section 2: To report the water supplier representative’s contact information.
- Section 3: To report monthly or bimonthly aggregated farm-gate deliveries by groundwater basin or sub-basin number.
- Section 4: To identify and explain the best professional practices used.
Submit reports in the online WUEdata Portal.
For questions, contact:
* The revised form was approved by the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) on January 15, 2019. Groundwater basin or sub-basins are identified and defined in Bulletin 118 in 10721 (b) of the Water Code.
See DWR’s groundwater mapping tool to locate applicable groundwater basins.
For more information on groundwater basins, see DWR’s groundwater publication webpage.
DWR was required to adopt regulations that provide for a range of options that agricultural water suppliers may use or implement to comply with agricultural water volume measurement requirements in SB X7-7 (Part 2.55, Chapter 4, §10608.48(i)) (1)).
This started with an emergency regulation, but has completed the rule-making process and is now a permanent regulation effective July 11, 2012. Please contact us for public hearings and the public process documents.
Who must implement?
Agricultural water suppliers providing water to more than 25,000 irrigated acres (excluding recycled water) (large water suppliers) by July 31, 2012 (§10608.48 (a))
Agricultural water suppliers providing water to more than 10,000 to 25,000 irrigated acres (excluding recycled water) for whom state funding has been provided for that purpose (mid-sized water suppliers)
The Water Measurement Regulations provide for a range of options that agricultural water suppliers may use.
The Final Regulation is available for viewing.
- Farm Gate Delivery Submittal Data - 2014 to present
- California Department of Food and Agriculture
- California Institute for Water Resources
- Center for Irrigation Technology
- Irrigation Training and Research Center
- University of California Drought Management Crop Irrigation Strategies
- USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
As California is gripped by a third year of dry conditions, sustainably managing our water systems and conserving water is more important than ever. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, on average, 14 percent of the water treated by water systems is lost to leaks; often caused by aging infrastructure and occasionally land subsiden ...