Maximizing the crop per drop
Until 2012, water was delivered to South San Joaquin Irrigation District Division 9 customers just as it had been for more than a century: through miles of gravity based canals and pipelines, which were inefficient and difficult to manage. With California facing one of the most severe droughts on record, there are potentially disastrous ramifications for the food supply of the entire United States. One local agency turned to Stantec to develop a smart system that helps secure our nation’s food supply, keep farmers in business and conserve precious resources.
The first of its kind in California, the new system gives growers automated irrigation access through mobile technology that conserves over 12,000 acre-feet per year (that’s enough water to provide for 40,000 households!). The $14 million system consists of a 19-mile network of pipelines with flexible pressurization, 56 acre foot water storage basin, a pumping station capable of pumping 23,500 gallons per minute, and 55 solar powered field telemetry units.
An interactive interface allows farmers to schedule water deliveries using an online system where they control their delivery date and receive alerts via email and text that confirm volume and flow rates. Proving that economic resiliency and environmental stewardship go hand in hand, the project has conserves water by 30%, reduces energy use by over 30%, and has increased crop yields by 30%. Additionally, the new system has cleared 500 acres from groundwater pumping and has substantially reduced nitrate contamination. The new system also contributes to better air quality by reducing farmers’ dependency on diesel-fueled pumps.
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