I visited in late August with Matt Angell about California San Joaquin Valley water issues.
Angell is a chairman of San Joaquin Resource Conservation District 9, is a managing partner at Pacific Farming Co., and also is managing director of Madera Pumps.
The conversation included discussion of California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act and what that will require of growers in the years ahead.
Angell said the San Joaquin Valley is the source of incredible productivity.
“The San Joaquin Valley is probably the strongest growing region on the planet,” he said, noting that the valley is estimated to produce 58% of the ag value in California about 7% of the value of U.S. agriculture.
He described his history of farming in the valley, his involvement in soil moisture monitoring technology and finally investing in a pump company that drills water wells in the San Joaquin Valley.
Water is what everybody is talking about and Angell said California's Sustainable Groundwater Management Act is the evolution of more than 100 years of water law.
The law gives local control to groundwater districts to create a path to water balance and prevent overdraft of ground water. “I think (the law) had to happen because it took the politics out of water,” Angell said.
It now is up to growers to figure out how find water balance, or the state will do it, he said. While the hard deadline is 2050, the need to create solutions that will lead to water balance is immediate.
“At end of the day, we need to...figure out our own problems,” he said. “The real problem is not the California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA);the real problem is groundwater overdraft.”