Renewable Farming

Farmers in California’s Central Valley struggle while the ground under them sinks

Some localities in California’s Central Valley are sinking as much as 2 inches a month as farmers pump massive volumes of irrigation water during this extended regional drought.

A feature in The Guardian newspaper by Suzanne Goldenberg details the dilemma. California’s drought is one of the “poster stories” propelling emotions at the upcoming COP21 climate conference in Paris.

Two fundamental elements are often forgotten in reporting about California’s water “hunger.”

One is that the Endangered Species Act has severely restricted access to river flows for irrigation. When snowfall is light in the mountains and reservoirs are low, very little snowmelt water can be diverted from rivers.

A second fact is that much of California is historically a desert climate. Average annual rainfall at Fresno is 11.5 inches. Merced gets 13 inches. 

Yet into this desert, modern irrigated agriculture has imposed huge water demands for continuous crop production.

When snowmelt falters, there’s another seldom mentioned factor: Farmers can drill wells on their own land, and they do. The underground aquifer becomes the “commons” source of water. When they pull irrigation water from layers of sand and clay, the water table falls — and so do the layers of clay and sand as water is pumped out.

One hope for California, and other desert climates, is finding and pumping from points of “Primary Water.”  This is underground water from deep within the earth, forged by intense pressures that bond hydrogen and oxygen into steam — which gradually finds its way close enough to Earth’s surface that it can condense and be tapped.

Primary Water’s existence has long been confirmed. Finding the access points within economically feasible drilling depths has been the challenge. Now, a new venture explained on a website, The Primary Water Institute, there’s new hope that an abundance of this water can be tapped around the world. 

Yesterday we visited with one of the authors of a book, “The Water Solution… How Primary Water Changes Everything.” Merlin Yockstick, trained as an educator and water structuring expert, came to visit our place and discuss how our technology — nutrient mobilization — and a new approach to water structuring can work together. Merlin’s book is available via The Blue Planet Groupe website.

There is a wide-ranging array of scientific literature on Primary Water.  Visit this link on the Primary Water Institute’s site for an overview.

Merlin Yockstick will be one of the speakers at an upcoming seminar in Iowa: On Dec. 10 and 11, BRT Ag & Turf and three other organizations are jointly sponsoring “Farming for Future Generations.”  We’ll have more details on this meeting at the Grinnell Eagles, 616 4th Ave. in Grinnell Iowa. 

A broad-based team will also be on tap with farmer-friendly ideas that will help you make the most of every crop investment dollar in 2015. Dec. 11 speakers include Don Huber, Vatché Keuftedjian, Amie Bandy, George Kindness, Keith Schlapkohl, Jerry Carlson and Bob Streit.