Securing an adequate supply of water at a reasonable cost has become an increasing concern for agricultural producers and the broader community, particularly given recent severe drought conditions. The Cachuma Resource Conservation District–in partnership with the County of Santa Barbara, the Carpinteria Valley Water District, Goleta Water District, and Ag Innovations–completed a study and action plan to identify measures that can be taken to support agricultural water security through a combination of water use efficiency, conservation, and stewardship measures. This project was supported with grant funding from the Water Use Efficiency Grants Program (under Proposition 50, Chapter 7, Section 79550(g)) of the California Department of Water Resources, and the County of Santa Barbara Water Agency.
The project identified four priority action areas with significant potential to optimize agricultural water use at this time. These include improvements in irrigation scheduling, irrigation system assessments coupled with implementation support, enhanced moisture capture and retention on agricultural lands, and improved coordination in technical assistance for agricultural water decision-makers. The report proposes a set of specific actions that can be taken to meet objectives related to each of these areas of opportunity. In addition, the study identifies key barriers hindering the adoption of water efficiency practices and includes detailed findings from a countywide agricultural water management survey.