Last Friday’s ‘Magnificent Pajaro Valley Water Tour’ was close to perfect, living up to its name (that’s really what we called the tour). Everyone who joined, including the regional board members, were genuinely interested in the information that was presented, asked questions, participated, and gave great feedback. The first stop of the tour was the Harkins Slough Recharge Basin.
The Harkins Slough Recharge Basin seasonally stores wet weather flows from Harkins Slough. Stored water is then pumped from a series of wells and delivered to coastal farms.
The take-home message was that Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) is part of the solution for water supply and has the potential to benefit water quality through denitrification. We need to ensure that these projects continue to be implemented and studied in order to better understand their benefits.
The next sites we visited were two farms. At Taylor Farms, we made the point that vegetable growers are using the available technology and California Irrigation Management Information System (CIMIS) data to improve water and fertilizer use efficiency as much as possible.
At Reiter Berry Farms, strawberry and raspberry growers explained how nutrient management and irrigation efficiency go hand in hand (ie. nutrient leaching is a result of overwatering; less water = less leaching). Growers described their various management strategies which result in water and nutrient conservation.
It was definitely a successful tour. We gained a lot of knowledge along with a lot of berries (free berries = awesome). Most importantly, we left the tour with an optimistic view about the fact that something IS being done about the water resource issue here in the Pajaro Valley.