How Farmers Used California’s Floods to Revive Aquifers

As an onslaught of storms soaked California with record-breaking rain last winter, Christine Gemperle found herself crisscrossing her almond orchards in knee-high muck boots and a slicker. She was out in the driving rain doing exactly what many farmers were trying to prevent: opening her irrigation gates and letting the flood rush into her orchards. …

For generations, during dry periods, California farmers have pumped water from deep underground to keep their crops hydrated when surface water supplies are scarce. Gemperle is no exception. Like many of her fellow farmers in California’s agricultural Central Valley, in dry years she turns to underground aquifers to irrigate the 135-acre almond farm she runs with her brother in Turlock.

But if farmers are the biggest takers of California’s dwindling groundwater supply, they are also becoming critical players in filling those aquifers back up. This year, Gemperle Orchards joined a growing number of farms helping to replenish overdrawn aquifers by flooding their orchards and fields with excess stormwater during wet seasons and letting it soak into the ground.

Continue reading at Reasons to be Cheerful.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.