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What Ventura County Agriculture is Doing to Protect Water


Agriculture in Southern California

  • Ventura County farms, orchards, and plant nurseries produce vegetables, fruits, and ornamental plants that we enjoy so much.
  • Because rainfall is limited, these agricultural operations need to regularly apply irrigation water during southern California’s dry season.
  • Fertilizers and pesticides are also applied when necessary for plant growth, health, and quality.

The problem with runoff

  • Winter storms provide water too quickly to be absorbed by the soil. Excess water that flows over the land surface is called runoff.
  • Runoff water can carry sediment, fertilizers, and pesticides off the agricultural property and into streams and rivers, where they pose a threat to aquatic wildlife and coastal ecology.
  • Runoff can also be produced during the dry season if too much irrigation water is applied or if it is applied too quickly.

Conserving water

  • Applying only as much irrigation water as is needed by plants keeps production costs low and conserves California’s valuable water resources.

What can you do at home:

Runoff from roofs, driveways, and streets can also carry pollutants to streams and rivers.

  • Limit fertilizer and pesticide applications at home. Irrigate lawns and ornamental plants judiciously.
  • Don’t leave potential pollutants on impervious surfaces like sidewalks or driveways where they can be washed away. Potential pollutants include fertilizers, lawn clippings, pet
    wastes, motor oil, and trash.
  • Rain barrels can be used to store runoff water from roofs. This water can later be used to water lawns and gardens.
  • Rain gardens are planted in low areas of yards to collect water that would otherwise run off the property. Water collected in rain gardens can slowly percolate into the soil. Special plants which can tolerate wet soil conditions are used for these gardens.