State Water Board Decision Threatens California Farms, Communities
As multi-generational farmers, many of whom live, work and raise their families on the land, the California almond community is committed to careful stewardship of our natural resources.
As multi-generational farmers, many of whom live, work and raise their families on the land, the California almond community is committed to careful stewardship of our natural resources. Essential to growing food, water is the lifeblood of California and a key component of responsible farming, including almond production. Recent action by the State Water Board regarding unimpaired flows on the Stanislaus, Tuolumne and Merced rivers raises significant concerns, not only threatening the state’s agricultural abundance and local economies, but also has implications for all Californians.
California is uniquely suited to growing almonds, and its farmers, producing 80 percent of the world’s supply, are committed to the sustainable and efficient use of water. Improvements in production practices and water-saving technologies have reduced the amount of water needed to grow a pound of almonds by 33 percent over the past 20 years.1 And while the almond community has made strides in irrigation efficiency, we’re committed to further improvements, many of which are aligned with and positively contributing to California’s strategic water priorities.2 From continued adoption of precision irrigation technologies to on-farm research exploring how California’s almond orchards can be leveraged to replenish the state’s groundwater, almond farming can and should be considered part of the solution.
In addition to supporting healthy, diverse diets around the world, the almond community is a major contributor of jobs and economic growth in California – particularly in the Central Valley, a region long associated with high unemployment. The California almond community generates $21 billion in gross revenue and supports 104,000 jobs, 97,000 of which are located within the Central Valley. It’s an important region driven by farm economies, and reliant on our most precious resource – water.
1 University of California, 2010. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2012. Almond Board of California, 1990-94, 2000-14.
2 California Water Action Plan. Jan. 2014.