Desert Fresh, Inc, a farm located in the Coachella Valley, in Riverside County, received a $53,000 grant from CDFA’s State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP) to install climate-smart technology. Desert Fresh grows grapes, lemons, and row crops in some of California’s most arid lands and is doing this while using less water and reducing carbon emissions from the farm.
With SWEEP funding, Desert Fresh installed climate smart technology that reduces irrigation water use by approximately 15 percent while producing the same yield. “How?” you ask. By using precision agriculture technology such as in-field weather stations to monitor wind speed, humidity, temperature, precipitation and evapotranspiration (the transfer of moisture from the Earth’s surface to the atmosphere).
The system utilizes soil moisture-sensing technology to ensure that the plants are getting the exact amount of water they need when they need it. These monitoring technologies identify when the crop is thirsty and know exactly how much water to apply, taking the guesswork out of irrigation.
The SWEEP grant also helped finance a new state of-the-art water filtration system at Desert Fresh to reduce drip-emitter clogging and maintain water distribution uniformity, all while reducing system maintenance. This new filtration system uses a self-cleaning screen filter as opposed to a traditional sand media filtration system. To put this into perspective, a sand media filtration system takes 24 minutes to backflush debris and the installed state-of-the-art filtration system takes 20 seconds to self-clean. This results in much less water required for system maintenance and less energy used by the pump to perform this task. Less pumping results in a reduction in emissions.
When asked about the benefits of the project, the grant recipient, Blaine Carian, stated, “The new filtration station eliminates our drip system’s downtime when cleaning the filter. Technology like this will help ensure that the water pumped into the system is used for irrigation and not system maintenance.”
With this modest investment, California will see almost 23 million gallons of water savings every year and 2.64 metric tons of CO2e reduction per year! That’s the same as driving 6,500 miles less each year! Technology like this will help California meet its climate change goals and adapt to climate change impacts such as water shortage.
This project was supported by the “California Climate Investments” program.