Pivot Farming Is Seriously
Depleting Local Water

      Highly inefficient and wasteful pivot flooding is the watering choice of alfalfa farmers in the Mojave Valley.  Center pivots making repeated waterings per crop, times 8 crops or more per year, is raiding the valley of its life sustaining water.  Facing westward, this photograph was taken November 7, 2014 from Newberry Road at the restart of fallow fields owned by the Kasners.

November 11, 2014

      According to data provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, over the last 30 years, the average rainfall for the Mojave Valley as based by the weather station in Daggett, California, is 4.06 inches.  That is 90% less than the national average, and 84% less than the average in California.  Yes, the Mojave Valley is definitely a desert.

      With California's current drought, the average rainfall is currently well below the 4.06 inch average; but when using the local average, sustainability of our critical aquifers would require no more than the 4 inches of rainfall being pumped from our fragile aquifers per year.

      This will be the expected sustainability target under the new California state law on groundwater.  By June 1, 2017, in roughly 2 1/2 years, regulatory agencies must be in place by statute and regulating groundwater pumping.  The Baja-subarea adjudication will remain under the Riverside Superior Court; but it too will be impacted by the state's sustainability goal.

      Despite the Superior Court ordered adjudication rampdowns, some alfalfa farmers are circumventing the restrictions by purchasing and leasing additional water rights, and increasing production by restarting fallow fields and maximizing the number of crop plantings per year.  As a result, the dropping of the local water tables is increasing, not decreasing.  As stated at October's Newberry CSD's monthly board meeting, farmers are currently sticking in new straws (wells) into the aquifers to suck-up increasing amounts of water despite the adjudication.

      According to reports from local well drillers, rather than the destruction of the aquifers decreasing by the rampdowns, the aquifers' water depletion is accellerating.  The water table in many areas are dropping over two feet per year.  Rather than protecting the aquifers, greedy farmers are terribly damaging the local communities by raiding the community's water supply to the maximum before they are expectedly ordered to comply under stricter enforcement.

      In regions of such little rainfall as the High Desert, it is unconscionable to be growing crops that require many dozens of crop groundwater floodings throughout the year.

      Center pivots slowly inch along flooding circles constantly in the Mojave Valley, eliminating the groundwater supply for local residents.

Related recent blogs:
Planning Sustainable Water - Community Turning Against Farmers -  9/19/14
Angry Residents Call For Rampdowns And Pumping Tax -  9/26/14
Farmers are horrified at proposed draconic rampdowns -  10/4/14
Emergency action necessary to save water supply. -  10/11/14

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