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.”
Last year, California saw everything from intense drought to torrential rain. Researchers and water agencies say that the future of the state’s drought depends on adapting to these shifts.
As the drought dries up California’s wetlands, traveling birds such as ducks, geese and eagles are struggling to survive and breed. “This drought is bad. The odds are against us,” a state expert said.
Drought resilience depends on location but also extraordinary engineering — determining which California places are running out of water this year and which remain in good shape.
About 4,300 users were issued notices to halt diversions from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
Experts say the current drought is hotter and drier than previous ones, meaning water is evaporating faster.
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