Posts

San Diego County Crops Supported by Water Rate Discount

Alongside other cornerstone industries such as tourism and biotechnology, agriculture sustains the San Diego County’s economy with a farmgate value of nearly $2 billion a year, according to the most recent county assessment. Avocados – one of the county’s signature farm goods — account for $140 million of the farming total growth of 16% in 2019, county figures show.

And all the crops countywide are supported by reliable water supplied by the San Diego County Water Authority and its 24 member agencies, which have invested strategically over the past three decades to ensure water availability even during dry years. The Water Authority has also created a special ag water program that offers lower-cost water in return for lower reliability so that farmers can choose the level of service that works best for them.

SAWR-Water Rates-Crops-Agriculture

San Diego County Crops Supported by Water Rate Discount

Alongside other cornerstone industries such as tourism and biotechnology, agriculture sustains the San Diego County’s economy with a farmgate value of nearly $2 billion a year, according to the most recent county assessment. Avocados – one of the county’s signature farm goods — account for $140 million of the farming total growth of 16% in 2019, county figures show.

And all the crops countywide are supported by reliable water supplied by the San Diego County Water Authority and its 24 member agencies, which have invested strategically over the past three decades to ensure water availability even during dry years. The Water Authority has also created a special ag water program that offers lower-cost water in return for lower reliability so that farmers can choose the level of service that works best for them.

“San Diego’s dynamic agricultural industry strengthens our region by employing thousands of people, contributing to the local economy, supporting the local food system and enhancing sustainability efforts,” said San Diego County Agricultural Commissioner Ha Dang. “All efforts to support our diverse agricultural economy are important, including water reliability and accessibility.”

San Diego County ag production is the combined result of more than 5,000 family farms – the most of any county in the United States. In fact, 69% of all San Diego County farms are smaller than nine acres. Innovative practices – including water-use efficiency measures – allow local farms to be productive by focusing on high-value crops such as ornamental trees and shrubs, bedding plants, cacti and succulents and indoor plants.

Agriculture directly employs 56,000 people in San Diego County, including the second-largest number of farms operated by women and the largest number of part-time farmers in the U.S. Along with avocados, San Diego County farmers rank first in the nation in production of nursery crops, and among the top five producers nationwide of lemons, limes, guavas, pomegranates, and macadamias.

Water Authority offers ag discount

In partnership with its member agencies, the Water Authority offers a Permanent Special Agricultural Water Rate Program to continue supporting commercial farms that are the economic engine of rural San Diego County.

In exchange for lower price water, participants in the ag water program agree to have lesser water service when the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California cuts supplies to San Diego County. It is similar to power companies offering lower rates to customers who agree to have their power service interrupted during peak demand periods. In turn, the Water Authority can reallocate those supplies as needed to commercial and residential customers who pay higher rates for full reliability benefits.

An important deadline for the ag water program is coming at the end of June, and farmers who want to take advantage of lower rates should contact their retail water agency for details.

Drought Hitting Home in California, Arizona

As drought deepens in the West and the water used by farms and people alike dwindles, farmers in Arizona and California are bracing for cutbacks in the two major federal systems that supply irrigation and drinking water to millions of people.

Water storage is shrinking with no snowpack to replenish reservoirs managed by the Bureau of Reclamation in California and Arizona. Shasta Lake in northern California is about half full while lakes Mead and Powell, the two giant reservoirs designed to contain more than 50-million-acre feet of water behind Hoover and Glen Canyon dams, respectively, are precariously low with under 20-million-acre feet of total storage combined.

Opinion: Silver Lining to Water Woes Could be Farmers Putting Their Lands to New Uses Besides Crops

The Central Valley has reached a critical juncture.

On one path, without proactive, collaborative planning, the Valley could become a haphazard patchwork of dusty fields infested with invasive weeds and pests, further impairing already poor air quality, devastating the agricultural economy and putting many farmworkers out of work.

On another path, the Valley can remain a thriving agricultural region amid a mosaic of new land uses, like vibrant habitat corridors for the endangered San Joaquin kit fox or wildlife-friendly groundwater recharge areas for migratory birds or outdoor recreational green spaces for families.

Drought Takes Hold in West After Second Dry Winter

Dry conditions in the Southwest, largely associated with La Niña, have intensified what the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is calling the most significant U.S. spring drought since 2013, affecting an estimated 74 million people.

Lack of Rain Could Potentially Impact Crops in the Central Valley

Crops are now blooming here in the San Joaquin Valley, which marks the beginning of harvest season for farmers.

As a drier-than-usual wet season continues to unfold, many are worried about how current drought conditions will impact this year’s crop.

County Crop Report Shows Bountiful 2019 Harvest

It’s not quite on the level of tourism or biotech, but agriculture is a major contributor to San Diego County’s economy. The county’s annual crop report was released this week, and it shows agriculture contributed nearly two-billion dollars in 2019.

Statewide, agriculture in California contributes $50-billion a year, much of it coming from industrial-sized operations.

Changes in Snowmelt Threaten Farmers in Western U.S.

Farmers in parts of the western United States who rely on snowmelt to help irrigate their crops will be among the hardest hit in the world by climate change, a new study reveals.