California Farm Water Success Stories

The Pacific Institute California Farm Water Success Stories series of case studies and interviews documents how agricultural water stewardship practices are at work on-the-ground, at the farm and irrigation district level. Video interviewsoffer first-person insights from these innovative water managers.In addition to the success stories, the Pacific Institute and other members of the California Roundtable on Water and Food Supply have launched an Interactive Database and Map which contains dozens of case studies, including the Pacific Institute’s success stories, and is searchable by location, production type, irrigation method, and stewardship practice.

Download the California Farm Water Success Stories:

dotGroundwater Management in Pajaro Valley* dotVegetated Waterways and Riparian Restoration*
dotIntegrated Regional Water Management* dotVolumetric Pricing and Conjunctive Use*
dotUrban Agriculture* dotGroundwater Banking
dotManaging for Multiple Benefits dotSmart Irrigation Scheduling
dotIndustry-Driven Standards for Water Efficiency dotRecycled Water and Agriculture
dotImproved Communication, Monitoring, and Measurement dotState and Federal Funding


The Farm Water Steward Award was established to recognize leaders and innovators in water stewardship across the California agricultural community. Madera County almond grower Tom Rogers is the recipient of the 2014 Farm Water Steward Award jointly presented by the Pacific Institute, Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF), and Ag Innovations Network. A third-generation farmer, Rogers has reduced water use by up to 20% by improving irrigation scheduling techniques – combining careful soil moisture monitoring and weather information from on-site stations to precisely determine the timing and amount of irrigation water to apply to his almond trees. By doing so, he also has improved crop yield, producing more crop per drop and improving water-use efficiency. Read more.


“Farmers, irrigation districts, and local organizations are finding innovative ways to protect water quantity and quality, saving energy and saving money, augmenting stream flows, and storing water for inevitable drought periods,” said the Pacific Institute’s Dr. Juliet Christian-Smith, a member of the Roundtable. “To claim it can’t be done, or that there isn’t more we can do, just doesn’t make sense. These case studies show how, and are a great practical resource.”
*Success stories from 2011 (previous case studies from 2010)

Among the Pacific Institute case studies are:

  • effective water management through regional efforts (groundwater management in the Pajaro Valley and in the Kings Basin),
  • the advantages of volumetric water pricing (Alta Irrigation District);
  • how strong collaborations can lead to water quality improvements (Oakdale Ranch and Audubon California); and
  • how a range of rainwater capture, re-use, land management, and drip irrigation can transform urban agriculture (sustainable water management on urban farms).


California Farm Water Success Stories

See all the Farm Water Success videos, including:

Karen Ross, California Secretary of Agriculture
Dan Balbas, Rieter Farms Grower
Chris Kapheim, Alta Irrigation District
David Orth, Kings River Conservation District
Dale Huss, Sea Mist Farms
– Marcos Hedrick, Panoche District Water Master
Craig McNamara, Sierra Orchards
Tom Rogers, Almond grower