California Water Update

California Water Update

Fresno State Establishing AgWaterEnergy Center

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The farm on the campus of California State University-Fresno will soon be home to a state‐of‐the‐art demonstration facility for innovative water and energy management technologies in agriculture.

Bolstered by $450,000 in funding from the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) and supported by irrigation and water technology manufacturers, the center will be a location to demonstrate how innovation can save significant amounts of energy and water and preserve water quality in agricultural operations across the Central Valley.

With nearly 1,000 acres and various enterprises including vineyards, fruit orchards, nut orchards, row crops, a dairy, and winery, the Fresno State Farm is a microcosm of the San Joaquin Valley. A wide variety of full‐scale production units will be available to demonstrate how farmers, ranchers, and students can benefit from new water and energy technologies and management — all in a central, easily‐accessible location.

The Center for Irrigation Technology (CIT) at Fresno State will be working with manufacturers to design, install, and monitor the most advanced water‐ and energy‐saving systems available today.

“We are looking forward to working with PG&E and others to create this center that will focus on the water/energy nexus and education,” says David Zoldoske, CIT Director. “Saving water and energy is important in supporting the agricultural industry across California to continue to grow, prosper, and feed the world. We are excited about being able to help educate the ag community with innovative ideas and resources.”

Anyone interested in becoming a partner in the AgWaterEnergy Center vision can contact the Center for Irrigation Technology at 559-278‐2066 or visit www.californiawater.org. Educational seminars are expected to begin this summer.

Created in 1980, the Center for Irrigation Technology (CIT) is internationally recognized as an independent testing laboratory, applied research facility, and educational resource. CIT is a part of the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology on the campus of California State University, Fresno. The center has gained international recognition as it provides services and training to firms and governments around the world.

Crop Advisers To Train In Nitrogen Management

University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) will offer nitrogen management training to certified crop advisers throughout the state.

UC ANR scientists are working with the California Department of Food and Agriculture to develop a curriculum and certification program to protect water quality, as recommended by the State Water Resources Control Board. The classes will begin in January 2014.

Earlier this year, the State Water Resources Control Board released its recommendations to the Legislature for addressing nitrate in groundwater. The recommendations are based on a UC-Davis study commissioned by the water board and released one year ago titled “Addressing Nitrate in California’s Drinking Water,” which focused on the Tulare Lake Basin of the San Joaquin Valley and the Salinas Valley in Monterey County.

“While we know that farmers have already begun employing techniques to reduce the amount of nitrogen fertilizer that can ultimately end up in our groundwater, we also know that there are additional actions that can be taken,” said Doug Parker, director of UC’s California Institute for Water Resources and leader for the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources water strategic initiative.

“In our training for certified crop advisers, we will apply the latest UC research to refine their methods for helping farmers manage nitrogen more effectively.” Parker said.

Plants need nitrogen to grow, but nutrients that are not used by the crop may move below the root zone. Nitrate, a byproduct of nitrogen, may infiltrate to groundwater used for drinking water.

For other examples of UC ANR research and extension projects under way to ensure that all Californians have access to safe drinking water and that the state’s farmers can grow enough food to help meet the world’s increasing demand, visit http://ucanr.edu/News/Healthy_crops,_safe_water.