Winegrowers Conserve Water with New Coalition

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Sonoma County Winegrowers Partner with Business Community and Local Government to Launch Sonoma County Water Sustainability Coalition

As water demands continue to increase throughout California amid new orders from the State to cut use, a public awareness and education campaign was launched today in Sonoma County sponsored by a unique partnership involving local winegrape farmers, the business community, the Sonoma County Water Agency and the Sonoma Marin Saving Water Partnership to inform residents on how to conserve and reduce water use.  Far from a “water war”, the Sonoma County Drought Relief Partnership is a public/private community-driven effort to communicate simple, effective ways to conserve water during the year’s hottest months.

“Sonoma County Winegrowers are proud to be a part of this collaborative and innovative effort to share our water conservation practices utilized for decades by our grape growers to reduce water use,” said Karissa Kruse, president of the Sonoma County Winegrowers.  She added, “Water is our most precious resource which is why we have spent years developing new technology and practices to minimize its use and implemented new farming practices to conserve water.  Conservation is a key component of our Code of Sustainability and we are excited to share our findings with all residents in the County so they can apply it to their own home and gardens.”

In addition, each participating organization will distribute drought education materials to their members and the general public as well as challenge their members to promote water conservation.  The goal is to broadly communicate best practices and tips throughout the region so water conservation becomes a normal everyday behavior much like recycling.

“In addition to continuing our weekly grower outreach, we are producing local ads, fact sheets, distributing water saving tips and techniques and dedicating our bi-weekly local radio program to inform the community on our conservation efforts,” said Kruse.  She added, “With more than 60% of Sonoma County’s vineyard acres already engaged in our commitment to sustainability, we have a wealth of best management practices to share to minimize water use and maximize its benefits.”

Grapes are a very efficient crop with regard to water and do not require much irrigation.  A normal weather year results in 25 – 60 inches of rainfall in the County’s winegrape growing areas.  Grape irrigation uses only 3-6 inches per year in Sonoma County so that remaining water accumulated in the rainy season goes back into the ground and recharges the aquifer.

Source: Wine Industry Advisor

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