Normally rains help drive salt and other toxic minerals deeper into the soil and away from roots of plants.
When that doesn’t happen, farmers can irrigate a little more. But that may not be an option during this drought.
Greg Norris is a state conservation engineer with the Natural Resources Conservation Service. He says even if farmers have enough water to irrigate, the crop might not produce enough to be viable.
Norris says barley is one crop that’s very salt tolerant. But it’s not just salt that can be a problem.
“They could look at a different crop that’s more salt tolerant or if they can’t do that they could plant a cover crop that is salt tolerant," says Norris. "They may or may not need to irrigate it but it would at least provide some cover to prevent soil erosion either from wind or water.”
Mandatory statewide water conservation rules have ended in California. But Sacramento-area users conserved 22 percent in June, compared to June 2013.
California and federal agencies say a new strategy is needed to save the endangered Delta smelt.
California is in the fifth consecutive year of drought, but state water managers ended mandatory conservation rules. Local water suppliers now determine conservation rates, and some have low or no targets. A water expert says that's 'shortsighted.'
California is in the fifth consecutive year of drought. Although mandatory statewide water conservation is over, the State Water Resources Control Board says water conservation remains a "top priority."
The California Water Resources Control Board Wednesday says Californians cut water use by 28 percent in the final month of mandatory statewide conservation.