Viewpoints: Conserving ag water isn’t a quick or easy fix

Outlet: The Sacramento Bee

July 16, 2011

In the contentious debates over California’s water management policy, one of the most misunderstood issues is agricultural water use efficiency. For decades, people have mistakenly assumed that improving agricultural irrigation techniques is a simple way to free up water supplies for other uses. In fact, policies that subsidize or mandate the adoption of more efficient irrigation methods often inadvertently increase the amount of water farmers use. To generate real savings, state policies need to reduce barriers to the water market, to encourage farmers growing low-value crops to sell some of their water to other users..