DWR Submits Final Ag Water Use Efficiency Report to Legislature

A report sent to the Legislature today identifies methods for quantifying agricultural water use efficiency and provides other indicators of efficiencies in irrigation systems.

Prepared by the Department of Water Resources as a requirement of SBX7 7, the water conservation arm of the comprehensive water package passed in 2009, the report proposes four methods for quantifying agricultural water efficiency and a plan for implementation, including costs and the data required.

Quantification methods proposed in the report include crop consumptive use, agronomic water use, total water use and water management, each serving as a fraction of use. To develop the methods, the department considered the components of a water balance at the basin, water supplier and field to understand and estimate how much water enters and leaves these areas.

In addition to the four quantification methods, the report also includes four indicators that may provide supplemental information about irrigation system performance and crop productivity.

The initial deadline for the report was Dec. 31, 2011, but was delayed to include greater public input and acceptance.

The California Agricultural Water Management Council and Agricultural Stakeholder Committee, each comprised of several ACWA members, played a large part in developing the concepts and methods proposed.

Download the report and see a letter from DWR Director Mark Cowin to the Legislature.