Ag Today, June 12, 2018

Ventura County farmers celebrate the launch of California’s first water monitoring program

Tyler Hersko, Ventura Published 5:39 p.m. PT June 11, 2018, VC Star

Farmers and public officials celebrated the launch of a historic water monitoring program during a ribbon cutting ceremony Monday afternoon in Oxnard.

Monday’s celebration, part of the multi-phase Advanced Metering Infrastructure and Water Market program, installed telemetry hardware on an agricultural well owned by Oxnard farmer Fred Van Wingerden. The technology will precisely monitor the amount of water used by the farm. Previously, farmers would self-report their water usage, which raised questions of accuracy.

The program is the first of its kind in California and was created in response to the state’s drought issues and the continued need for area farmers to conserve water. More than 700 monitors are expected to be installed on other agricultural wells throughout the Oxnard Plain by October 2019.

It’s also part of a broader movement to create a formal water market for Ventura County farmers to buy and sell their excess water to help adapt to the resource’s increasingly strained availability. That program officially launched last year.

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