Report for FW03-318
Development and agriculture are clashing over water on the Mojave High Desert of Southern California. Agriculture has thrived for 100 years, producing alfalfa, tree fruit and vegetable crops. Now people are thriving, moving to the less expensive High Desert from Los Angeles. High Desert towns like Palmsdale and Victorville have nearly doubled in the last 20 years. Lawsuits have resulted in the curtailment of producer irrigation water, mostly drawn from poorly recharged groundwater systems. The dozen farmers in this Western SARE project are working with ag advisor Grant Poole to efficiently apply scarce water with the aid of soil sensors to monitor soil moisture. Their goals are to conserve the groundwater, reducing runoff and leaching with more careful irrigation, increase productivity, optimize irrigation, educate others on water conservation techniques and promote water conservation.