The State Water Board is facing pressure to mandate that agricultural groups prove they are using water resources in a way that is “beneficial and reasonable.” The Almond Board held a workshop in July to listen to different perspectives on regulating water use. History shows that regulation is more likely in the absence of data.

The California Almond Sustainability Program (CASP) helps provide specific documentation that almond growers are using their water and other resources efficiently in California.

CASP self-assessment data accumulated from nearly 200 grower-orchards in the 2010–11 program reveals, for instance, that more than 90 percent of orchards used low-volume irrigation systems such as micro-sprinklers (76 percent) or drip irrigation (15 percent). In addition, 53 percent of orchards with irrigation pumps have flow meters, and 83 percent of orchards with micro-irrigation systems had lines and emitters checked for leaks or clogs at least once a week while in use.

“It really speaks to the heart of CASP, which is to gather information about how growers are using their resources and to get that cumulative information in the hands of decision makers,” said Almond Board’s Gabriele Ludwig. “We need this data if we are ever going to be legitimate participants in this discussion.”

As a grower, you should consider participating in a CASP workshop this year. The more information the Almond Board can gather through voluntary participation in CASP, the better the industry can illustrate that almond growers are using water and other resources in a responsible, sustainable and beneficial way.

For more information on CASP, email sustainability@almondboard.com.