By Rich Lowrie, Water and Wastewater Industry Manager, KROHNE, Inc.
In Feb. 2014, the Federal Bureau of Reclamation informed central California farmers that they would receive no irrigation water from the lakes, canals, and reservoirs under the Bureau’s control due to severe drought conditions. During the previous year, the farmers were only given 20 percent of their normal allocation of water. California officials who oversee the state’s water holdings also released information that no water will be available to the farmers for irrigation. Residential users also saw severe cuts.
These restriction impact more than just California, as 33 percent of the fruits and vegetables produced in the United States are grown on central California farms, translating to a $44 billion per year industry. Water restrictions will also impact the beef and dairy industries with higher feed prices, which in turn will lead to higher prices for consumers. The result is that water is becoming a much more valuable commodity every year, in California and elsewhere, so the measurement of water has also become a big business opportunity.