Agricultural water stewardship is the use of water in a way that optimizes agricultural production while also addressing co-benefits for the environment and human health. The local and regional context in which a farm operates will determine the best water management approaches to maximize water use efficiency, minimize adverse environmental impacts, and balance trade-offs for society as a whole. This website is a resource center for growers, ranchers, and others interested in sound farm water management. You can find information about:
Drought. Climate change. Population growth. Endangered fish. Mandated reductions in water allocations. Adjudicated water rights. Uncertain regulatory future. The forces coming to bear on water supply for agriculture have never been so significant. Water availability will be one of the most prominent forces shaping the future of agriculture in California. California agriculture has a great opportunity at this time to innovate new solutions, demonstrate leadership in achieving multiple benefits, and forge new partnerships to address these challenges.
Agriculture is an activity that serves the public by providing food, acting as an economic driver for rural areas, and providing many other benefits. Water is a basic and necessary input of food and fiber production for society, yet declining water supplies mean that many producers are facing tough choices. Smart water use – agricultural water stewardship – helps producers address the associated operational risks and challenges while supplying benefits to the broader watershed. Agricultural water stewardship practices are core to the values that characterize sustainable agriculture and will help protect the future viability of agricultural production for California and beyond.
The California Agricultural Water Stewardship Initiative (CAWSI) is managed by Ag Innovations Network and guided by an Editorial Board appointed by the California Roundtable on Water and Food Supply. Visit the About Us link for more information about CAWSI and the Roundtable. This online resource center is a living resource—we invite submissions of case studies and documents you would like to recommend adding to the website. You can also stay connected as the resource center evolves—join our listserve for occasional updates and follow us on Twitter or Facebook.