Study finds California can cut water use

California farmers could save the water equivalent of three to 20 dams by growing less thirsty crops and investing in more efficient irrigation technology, Oakland-based think-tank the Pacific Institute reports.
The report, "More with Less: Agricultural Water Conservation and Efficiency in California – A Focus on the Delta," says that 80% of farmers’ water is drawn from the critically ill Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
"No one has ever evaluated the potential for improving the efficiency of agricultural water use," the San Francisco Chronicle quoted Peter Gleick, president of the Pacific Institute, as saying. "We found there is a lot of potential for savings … and they’re extensions of things farmers are already doing."
"Wouldn’t it be best to know exactly how much water we need to deliver so we don’t overbuild (dams) or spend more money than we need to spend?" Gleick added.
The report suggests boosting outreach programs to help teach farmers about new techniques and giving farmers tax breaks for water-saving irrigation systems.
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