On-Farm Water Storage & Retention

Posted on Thursday, December 13th, 2012 by Renata Brillinger

In November, the California Roundtable on Water and Food Supply released a report entitled From Storage to Retention: Expanding California’s Options for Meeting Its Water Needs. The report argues for an expansion of approaches to storing water that increase supply reliability for specialty crop agricultural production and other beneficial uses while protecting ecosystem health.

The report describes several water storage strategies that we agree have not received sufficient attention and resources, namely:

(A) restoration and enhancement of upper watersheds and soils
(B) distributed off-stream surface storage
(C) groundwater management and storage

It describes a broad range of options, including a patchwork of on-farm ponds, expanded soil capacity to retain water and improvements in groundwater recharge. There is work to be done to influence policy, allocations of funding and to provide support for technical advisors for these important solutions. This report — produced with the input of a diverse group of expert stakeholders – lays a solid foundation for achieving the many climate, environmental, health and economic benefits possible with a water stewardship approach.

For more information and to download the report, please see http://aginnovations.org/articles/view/storage/. A related on-line resource — the Agricultural Water Stewardship Resource Center — provides case studies and referrals to experts on various techniques and practices.

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