Water use per acre by California rice growers has dropped 65% in the last 20 years due to improvements in technology and new farming practices and a significant portion of water used is returned to our streams and rivers.
“When the California rice crop is harvested, 400 pounds per acre is left in the fields. This leftover rice serves as an important food sources for millions of ducks, geese, pheasants and other wildlife.”
The practice of winter flooding in rice fields is a proven method for decomposing rice straw so that it can be returned to the soil. Flooded fields also serve as seasonal wetlands for migratory waterfowl.
When winter rice field storage water is released during the spring, the flow of the Sacramento River can be maintained to prevent salinity in the Delta, and more storage can be retained in the Shasta, Trinity, Oroville and Folsom dams.