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Better Water Management for a Better California


Almond farmer Don Cameron recently penned an op-ed for leading California water publication, Maven’s Notebook. Below are a few excerpts from the piece highlighting how the almond community is growing a better future on their farms as well as for California and the environment.

“Yes, almond trees use water to convert sunlight into protein. All plants require water to grow and crops that grow on trees all use around the same amount of water. We understand water is a precious resource in California and have been working on substantive conservation measures for the past twenty years, using micro- and drip irrigation to improve water use efficiency by 33%. But we are not stopping there. In 2019 the almond community set a goal to improve water use efficiency another 20% by 2025. In other words, we will have cut the amount of water needed to grow each nut in half within the lifetime of a single orchard (about 25-30 years).”

“For every pound of almonds, we grow more than two pounds of hulls and shells. These products have value economically and environmentally.  Almond hulls are often used in dairy feed, reducing the need to grow other crops. Almond shells can be incorporated into recycled plastics, increasing their strength and heat stability. And the trees themselves, at the end of their productive life, can be ground up and recycled. That process incorporates 60 tons per acre of wood chips back into the soil, increasing water holding capacity, improving soil health, and helping address climate change by sequestering carbon dioxide and keeping it out of the atmosphere – 2.4 tons for each acre the practice is used on.”

“Almond growers are committed to finding water solutions that work for people, farms, and fish. Through research funded by the Almond Board of California we are exploring ways to recharge groundwater aquifers, be good stewards of the water that we all collectively share as a state, and even helping the salmon industry understand how agricultural land, like rice fields, could play a role in supporting salmon health.”

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Topics: Growing Good