Agricultural Water Use Efficiency

California is one of the most productive agricultural regions in the world.

A view of water-efficient drip irrigation. DWR/2016.

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.

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What's New

DWR announced it is increasing the State Water Project allocation to 15 percent of requested supplies for 2022. Last month, due to low water levels, the Department announced that the initial allocation would cover only critical health and safety needs of the 29 water agencies that contract to receive State Water Project supplies.

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