Statement by Mike Wade, Executive Director: Illegal diversions, wasteful water use threatens water supply

“We applaud Governor Brown for taking more decisive steps toward increased water conservation and improving water management among all water users during this unprecedented drought.

Mike Wade, Executive Director
California Farm Water Coalition

“Identifying illegal diversions and wasteful use of water will benefit the state’s overall water supply. Whether on the farm or in urban areas, illegal water diversions and wasteful use must stop. We have a system of water rights in California that everyone should abide by. Anyone who is circumventing the law should be identified and face the consequences.

“The Governor has increased the requirements for agricultural water use reporting and water management planning. That adds to the number of districts that will be submitting water management plans. Roughly two-thirds of farm water suppliers are already meeting previous reporting requirements.

“Farmers have already taken steps to conserve the amount of water they use. They have spent $3 billion since 2003 to install more efficient irrigation systems, one and a half times the amount Southern California water users spent building Diamond Valley Lake for new water storage. The use of drip, micro and subsurface irrigation more than doubled from 1991 to 2010, from 16 percent of the state’s irrigated acreage to more than 42 percent today.

“These activities and more have become an everyday practice on California farms and will continue as farmers maintain their commitment to provide a safe and reliable supply of food for consumers.”

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