Farmers who install a Rain Bird drip irrigation system may not be burdened as much by higher fees for getting water quality certification, unlike those who do not use the water-saving and environment-friendly irrigation method.
The Record reported in early August that several significant water quality regulations in the Central Valley “will be drafted within weeks and could become official by next Spring.” These standards are expected to double or triple the costs that farmers pay for water quality improvement.
One of the proposed modifications is that the groundwater beneath crops must be monitored, along with nearby rivers and streams. Farmers would also be required to attend educational meetings and to observe practices that protect water quality. Furthermore, they would need to draft plans that elaborate the measures they take to protect it, including how they use fertilizers and manage soil erosion.
The fees associated with the new standards have made the farmers dissident. While they currently pay $2.75 an acre for water quality approval, the costs associated with new paperwork are expected to increase. “We all want clean water and air. This just goes too far,” Lockeford farmer Larry Miller told The Record. However, the local government seems resolute in pursuing the new regulations, with environmental scientists explaining that the water quality standards are necessary to keep groundwater safe.
While it is seemingly inevitable that many farmers will pay more to improve water quality, it does not look as if those who already practice drip irrigation will be troubled as much. Drip irrigation is a method of irrigation by which water is directly delivered to the roots of plants. This is done by connecting the water source to the soil surface or root zone through a network of pipes, tubing, and emitters.
By watering the base of plants directly instead of letting water flow throughout an entire farm, farmers can save a lot of resources and energy as well as minimize soil erosion. There are also drip irrigation products, like those patented by Rain Bird irrigation technology, that are made especially for low-volume irrigation systems and enable targeted watering with greater efficiency. These products can be easily bought in various locations around the country through suppliers like Aqua-Flo Supply.
It may take much effort for some farmers to adopt this environmentally friendly and highly intricate irrigation system. But the cost-efficient farming that drip technology enables could be worth the trials. With the help of this system, they may eventually comply with the new water quality standards without feeling shortchanged.