The way agricultural water is distributed, bought and sold may be headed for seismic change. As water scarcity reaches unprecedented extremes in the West, Western Growers Association plans to deploy SWIIM technology in California regions facing the greatest drought impacts.
SWIIM, or Sustainable Water and Innovative Irrigation Management, is a distinct system designed to increase agriculture producer income with a blend of science and technology – allowing landowners to lease a portion of consumptive use water rights.
SWIIM is already operating in Colorado, and just announced they are working together on pilot deployments with Western Growers, which represents family farmers in California and Arizona who produce half of the country's fruits and vegetables. As part of that arrangement, SWIIM services will be offered in water-starved areas like Coachella, where water will be leased back to the district, and the Salinas Valley. Ultimately, the association hopes that all participants will lease some of their excess water.
“With Gov. Brown's historic announcement, including a requirement that agricultural water users report more water use information to state regulators, we hope that SWIIM's turn-key water planning and usage reporting solutions for agriculture will help re-balance California's water needs through better water conservation,” SWIIM CEO Kevin France says.
SWIIM hopes to unlock a $150 billion market for water rights and conservation, and estimates that for every 500 acres covered, farmers can bring in $50,000 to $100,000 annually in additional income.
For additional information, see swiimsystem.com or wga.com.