In our "California Cherry and Blueberry Harvest Has Begun" post we talked about how much water it takes to grow a pound of Cherries and Blueberries. Drought year or wet year, those trees and shrubs need that water and while we farmers can take measures to reduce water use, certain amounts of water are simply necessary to producing the food that goes to your tables and ours. Thankfully, Mother Nature was very kind to us this past winter season. We love turning on the evening news and hearing reports that our snowpack is well above average. We love seeing our reservoirs filled, which makes water plentiful for growing food for people and livestock, enjoying outdoor activities and prolonging our season of green-ness. We love, love love it!
Right now, we have about two to four years of water in our reservoirs, and that’s really comforting for so many of us! Now we look to Mother Nature to keep the weather in our mountains cold enough to control how quickly that snow melts. When that snow melts, it flows downstream into our reservoirs. Today, those reservoirs are filled with water – filled to the point of having too much of a good thing. But it’s still good. So when you drive around in our area, you’ll see rivers and irrigation canals full and moving full speed ahead. We wish we had a way to harness this precious resource, but at this time, we just have to watch it flow down our rivers and out to the Pacific Ocean. Our local irrigation districts and we have lots of water to manage right now, and as the weather warms up we could all be pressed into action to move that water along as safely as possible.
So if you check out those rivers and canals and think of all that water that’s going to waste, just know that we growers are putting as much water as possible to use while it’s here. Join us in being thankful for this break in dry conditions and for the healthy dose of water our orchards and fields are getting. And while it’s still green in California, grab your family or friends and head out to take it all in. You may see wildflowers you haven’t seen for years, new growth on the Central Valley’s majestic oak trees, lots of happy cows grazing on that green grass and orchards that were parched last year getting a nice big serving of water.