#Water saving

The year just ended was dry. Really dry. Our crops needed water, yet there is a strong incentive to conserve. So for 2015 we really tried to pull out all the stops, and got our water use down to just 1.25 acre-feet of water per acre (AF/acre). For those of you who haven’t committed water stats to memory (most of you, I’d guess) here are a few benchmarks.

2.23 AF/acre- The amount we are allocated as part of the managed Santa Paula groundwater basin.

2 – 2.5 AF/acre – The typical standard for citrus and avocados.

1.65 AF/acre – The amount we used in 2014.

1.25 AF/acre – The amount we used in 2015.

I’m happy to say that despite our stingy water use, our production was actually up a bit in 2015 compared to 2014. Can we continue the trend? If this El Nino delivers, we should. But as I write this, we’re coming off three days of Santa Ana conditions with temperatures over 90 and humidity dropping as low as 9%. There are only 60 days or so left in the rainy season, and nothing on the horizon for 7 to 10 days at least. The clock is running against us.

What’s new for 2016?

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We’ve added new technology from Acuity Agriculture that will allow us to be more observant. We can now see soil moisture in real-time, track soil and air temperatures, and even get a better handle on the drought’s less visible threat: soil salinity.

As happy as we are to see a healthier Sierra snowpack, this drought is not over, and it won’t be over this year. Not in Ventura County.

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