How much water is used for agriculture in california


What are the uses of water in agriculture?

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 …

What are the main uses of water on California?

Water in California is shared across three main sectors. Statewide, average water use is roughly 50% environmental, 40% agricultural, and 10% urban, although the percentage of water use by sector varies dramatically across regions and between wet and dry years. Some of the water used by each of these sectors returns to rivers and groundwater basins where it can be used again.

What agriculture does California produce the most of?

On average, California agriculture irrigates more than 9 million acres using roughly 34 million acre-feet of water typically diverted from surface waters – rivers, lakes, and reservoirs that deliver water through an extensive network of aqueducts and canals – …

How much water is used for agriculture?

The reality is far more complex. Growing crops uses a lot of water, and the agricultural sector’s use of water in California is consistent with global water use (of which about 70% is used for agriculture). To better understand agricultural water use and associated trends, we must look beyond total water use and consider other metrics, such as the


Where does California’s water come from?

Half of California’s environmental water use occurs in rivers along the state’s north coast. These waters are largely isolated from major agricultural and urban areas, and their wild and scenic status protects them from significant future development. In dry years, the share of water that goes to the environment decreases dramatically as flows …

How much water is used in cities in the 1990s?

Even before the latest drought, per capita water use had declined significantly—from 231 gallons per day in 1990 to 180 gallons per day in 2010—reflecting substantial efforts to reduce water use through pricing incentives and mandatory installation of water-saving technologies …

Why is agriculture so dependent on groundwater?

Agriculture relies heavily on groundwater during droughts —particularly in the Central Valley—but more sustainable groundwater management is needed to maintain this key drought reserve. An increase in tree and vine crops—which need to be watered every year—is making farming more vulnerable to water shortages.

What are the benefits of water?

Environmental water use falls into four categories: water in rivers protected as “wild and scenic” under federal and state laws, water required for maintaining habitat within streams, water that supports wetlands within wildlife preserves, and water needed to maintain water quality for agricultural …

Is water use falling in California?

Despite population growth, total urban water use has also fallen. The San Francisco Bay and South Coast regions account for most urban water use in California. Both rely heavily on water imported from other parts of the state. Total urban water use has been falling even as the population grows.

Is 2015 a drought year?

NOTES: Except for 2015 (a severe drought year), the figure reports estimates for normal rainfall years. Pre-2000 estimates are adjusted to levels that would have been used in a year of normal rainfall. Estimates are for water years (October to September).

How much water does California use to irrigate?

On average, California agriculture irrigates more than 9 million acres using roughly 34 million acre-feet of water typically diverted from surface waters – rivers, lakes, and reservoirs that deliver water through an extensive network of aqueducts and canals – or pumped from groundwater.

What are the crops grown in California?

California’s conditions are favorable for the production of a multitude of crops and more than 400 commodities, including almonds, walnuts, lettuce, tomatoes, strawberries, and grapes. California’s agricultural success can be attributed to irrigation, the act of supplementing rainfall during times of no precipitation to meet the water demands …

What is the role of irrigation districts?

Irrigation districts and water agencies play a role in distributing irrigation water, which includes obtaining and maintaining legal rights to the water, and wielding the water to meet the irrigation demands of its members. Water purveyors are involved in long-term planning for water supply; development and maintenance of the delivery infrastructure; regular billing of their members; helping members meet water conservation goals; and assisting with wildlife habitat and water quality outflow requirements.

What is agriculture in science?

Agriculture is the practice and science of cultivating soil for growing crops to provide food, fiber, and other commodities and products for people to purchase and consume.

What is a water purveyor?

Water purveyors are involved in long-term planning for water supply; development and maintenance of the delivery infrastructure; regular billing of their members; helping members meet water conservation goals ; and assisting with wildlife habitat and water quality outflow requirements .


The terms and units used in this report are similar to those used in previous USGS National Water-Use Reports and are defined in the Glossary. Water-use data are expressed in units of gallons per day.

Limitations of Water-Use Data

The California water-use summary presented here is based on estimates compiled from a variety of sources. There is significant uncertainty associated with many of these estimates.

Sources of California Water Use Data and Methods of Analysis

The USGS California Water Science Center publishes water information on many topics, including water use. USGS national guidelines for preparing water-use estimates were followed. Water-use estimates and ancillary data were entered into a State aggregate water-use database and reviewed within the USGS and by cooperating agencies.


The authors gratefully acknowledge the assistance provided by the many State and local agencies that shared data and expertise with the USGS. Cooperators include State agencies that manage water resources, operate data-collection programs, and administer regulations on water use and natural resources.

What percent of California’s water is agriculture?

Agriculture is 80 percent of water use in California. Why aren’t farmers being forced to cut back? – The Washington Post

How much water did California save in 2013?

Cities and towns are now prohibited from using more than three-quarters the amount of water they used in 2013. This will save an estimated 1.5 million acre-feet, or nearly 500 billion gallons of water , …

What is California’s water rights system?

California has a complex system of water rights, which evolved from a system of first dibs instituted by its early settlers. In the Western states, where surface water can be scarce, early miners and farmers would dig channels to divert water from far-away streams. Often, the streams weren’t even on their property.

How much did the drought cost farmers in 2014?

Economists estimatethat in 2014, the drought cost farmers about $2.2 billion through lost crops and increased water costs. They believe that the impact of the drought on the agricultural sector eliminated 17,100 jobs from the state economy. Story continues below advertisement. Some have suffered much more than others.

Why does the state water board cut off people with more junior water rights?

During droughts, the state water board starts to cut off people with more junior water rights. The board issues notices telling them to stop drawing water in order more senior rights holders to drink their fill. This happened last summer, and the board has already issued a warning for people to expect curtailments again this year.

Why are city water agencies better equipped?

City water agencies tend to be better equipped to ensure that their water portfolios are lush. If their delivery contracts fall through, they can afford to drill deeper wells, or buy water off of people with senior water rights.

When did sprinklers water the grass at Gleneagles Golf Course?

Sprinklers water the grass at Gleneagles Golf Course on April 2, 2015 in San Francisco, California. Significant cuts in use will be imposed on cemeteries, golf courses and facilities with large landscapes. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

How much of California’s water is agricultural?

Roughly 40% of California’s water use is agricultural, according to Josue Medellin-Azuara, a director at the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences.

How much water does California use per acre?

On average, California crops used 2.97 acre feet of water per acre that year, the data show. An acre foot is equal to about 326,000 gallons, or enough water to cover an acre of land 1 foot deep.

How much water does cannabis use?

The Department of Water Resources didn’t track water usage for cannabis in its 2015 data, but The Washington Post reported in 2015 that the crop uses 1.4 acre feet per acre.

Why did Sonoma County’s top economic development official leave?

Citing her frustration over daily microaggressions and race bias, Sonoma County’s top economic development official is leaving after only two and a half years in the job.

Why is it important to look at average water prices?

While looking at average water prices in each district can be useful, it’s important to put that information into the context of a lending portfolio. Not only can prices vary from one basin to another, but a farm with fewer appropriative water rights may end up paying more than a farm with access to sufficient water sources.

What are some ways to reduce drought risk?

Farms at higher risk of water stress can apply drought mitigation methods such as more efficient irrigation systems, water storage infrastructure, or regenerative agriculture. Growers who don’t take water costs into account may have no choice but to pay more for water transfers.

What happens when water prices are too high?

If prices are too high, then it may no longer make economic sense to grow water-intensive crops. When prices are too low, water transfers are less valuable on the open market. Before making any decisions about agricultural investments, ag professionals should take California agricultural water prices into account to make informed decisions.

Can you transfer water from another county?

Note that if water transfers are from another county or region, then they may not come in time due to transfer regulations. It is wise to understand the geographic, district, and county logistics of a borrower’s water transfers. GIS technology can be an invaluable asset in this.

Do urban farms pay more water?

As the Berkeley News notes, an urban farm is likely to pay much higher water costs than a commercial grower:

Is California water price a key data point?

California agricultural water prices are also a key data point to include when performing due diligence as part of a water risk assessment. As regulators and investors expect ag finance institutions to disclose climate-related ESG risks, it will be more important than ever to have an accurate understanding of water costs.


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