Brentwood Kids Care Club is a group of elementary school boys and girls, started by their moms, with the idea to teach their children the variety of ways everyone can contribute to making the world a better place. As the kids schedules start to fill with the many activities related to sports, dance, and school an effort was undertaken to make a place in their lives for philanthropy activities. The goal was to make it fun, educate about the many areas we can help in our community, and instill in our kids compassion for others. The Brentwood Kids Care Club is one of many clubs from the larger organization http://kidscare.org/.
Their “Walnuts to Water” activity focused on water conservation. A local farmer let the club collect the extra walnuts left over after harvest. They learned how important water is to our farms and how they can help to conserve water every day. Club members sold bags of walnuts through local businesses and to family members and friends. Their effort raised $323, which club members wanted to be used for water conservation education.
The club decided to donate their earnings to the California Farm Water Coalition to be used to distribute information on how farmers can conserve water.
Here are some tips that many farmers find are helpful ways to grow food and fiber using water as efficiently as possible:
Choose the right irrigation system
Choosing the irrigation system that best matches your crop, soil type and the source of water is very important. Some crops, such as orchards and vineyards, grow very well using high-efficiency drip and micro-sprinkler irrigation systems. Others need sprinklers, especially young vegetables and melon crops, to help them germinate and sprout. And field crops, including alfalfa and rice, do better with gravity-type irrigation, which can be very efficient when soils are right and fields are level.
Level your fields
When the field used to grow a crop is very level, water flows across it or penetrates into the ground very evenly. Having a level field helps farmers make sure their water supplies are spread evenly and aren’t wasted with too much water in one place and not enough water in another. Farmers can use special equipment that uses lasers to guide tractors and scrapers to make sure their fields are nice and flat before they plant and begin irrigating their crops.
Let satellites guide your tractor
Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites can be used by tractors for guidance as they travel across the field planting seeds or turning over the soil to control weeds. A GPS system can help drive a tractor all by itself and maintain a straight row across the field much more accurately than a person can!
Check your irrigation pump
A pump that is running inefficiently can waste both water and energy. Agricultural universities and power utilities sponsor pump testing programs to check to make sure your irrigation pump is running as efficiently as possible. Special meters from utility companies also keep track of when you’re using your pump and charge lower energy rates if it is used in off-peak hours, such as after 6 pm and on weekends.
Look for leaks
It takes water to grow food so it’s important to make sure plants are getting all of the water they need to grow. Irrigation pipelines and canals can leak over time, which wastes water and money.