BRENTWOOD (CBS13) — One year after Gov. Jerry Brown called off the state’s historic drought emergency, area farmers are still finding innovative ways to continue conserving water.
In one district, farmers are using a system known as drip tape irrigation, which has helped save millions of gallons of water.
Crews from G & S Farms in Brentwood have been quickly working to get one of its last fields planted before the rain moves in. The small family-owned business is one of the companies leading the way towards water conservation.
“There is a big process to it, checking leaks. Since we are irrigating less, but we are irrigating more frequently, we’re constantly running our pumps,” said Joe Ghiggeri, G & S Farms.
Farmers are using a drip tape irrigation system. It’s underground and allows the crops to be specifically targeted in a much more efficient way. It also helps growers save a lot of water without ever damaging a crop.
“We’ve implemented it, and now we’re 100%, and we’ve seen changes and savings on our water costs. We’ve been able to, there are a lot of benefits from it as well, and we’ve seen reducing cost on our fertilizer, with the drip system we have a more uniform crop as well,” he said.
Pumps are installed in every field, along with filter systems. Farmers say they spend tens of thousands of dollars on the technology, which leaders with the Byron-Bethany Irrigation District say is benefiting both farmers and nearby residents.
“BBID supplies raw water to the community of Mountain House which is then treated, and that is Mountain House’s drinking water supply, and Mountain House itself continues to prioritize saving water; they remain in a Stage 3 drought condition which means you can only water three days a week,” said Nick Janes with Byron-Bethany Irrigation District.
Just recently, state water officials reported Californians are now using 18 percent more water than at the same time in 2017, nearly the same amount before the drought was declared. Farmers say they are still working on finding other ways to conserve.
“Farmers are certainly one of the most inventive folks around in terms of figuring out how to use what they have to still grow that great crop that we all love,” said Janes.
The district has saved 6.5 million gallons of water last year compared to 2014, all thanks to the changes growers have made.