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New Study: Conservation Better Than Dams

A new report says California could save a lot more water by investing in farm conservation measures instead of dams. The study is by the non-profit Pacific Institute. Researcher Juliet Christian-Smith says regulatory agencies and lawmakers should focus on farm investments rather than large infrastructure projects like dams or reservoirs.

"We used a modeling program and basically just ran different scenarios. Hypothetically if more farmers were doing irrigation scheduling, or moving from flood irrigation to drip or sprinklers we could save on the order of 4.5 to 6 million-acre-feet-of-water in an average water year," says Christian-Smith.

California is in a third year of drought. And critical fish species are declining in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. As a result, less water is being pumped to farms and cities. That has some clamoring for new reservoirs and canal systems to protect the state's 40-Billion dollar agriculture industry.