SAVING WATER THROUGH REGENERATIVE AGRICULTURE
According to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA):
Increasing soil organic matter increases the ability of soil to hold droplets of water. This process is called soil water holding capacity.
As the organic matter in soil increases:
- Surface structure becomes more stable and less prone to crusting and erosion. (“improved tilth”)
- Water infiltration increases and runoff decreases when soil structure improves.
- Soil organic matter holds 10 to 1,000 times more water and nutrients.
- Beneficial soil organisms become more numerous and active with diverse crop rotations and higher organic matter levels. In other words, increasing soil organic matter increases soil resistance to drought conditions. As a result, it provides an opportunity to reduce irrigation water use.
- Increasing soil organic matter by 1% increases soil moisture by 20,000 gallons/ac.
Here is a reference on this topic by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) …
Role of Soil Organic Matter. Once a land manager begins working towards enhancing soil organic matter, a series of soil changes and environmental benefits follow. The rate and degree of these changes and the best suite of practices needed to achieve results vary with soil and climate.
Where does organic matter come from and how can farms of all sizes increase soil organic matter? Adding organic matter to soil begins through development of regenerative agricultural practices.
Regenerative agriculture depends upon doing the following:
- keeping living (green) material in the soil around the year as much as practicable. For most farmers this can initially be achieved by initially introducing straw, manure, leaf mulch etc., and/or longer-term growing cover crops (green manure) then lightly tilling the cover crops in to a shallow soil surface.
- keeping a cover residue of living/dead plant material on the soil surface at all times
- reducing (preferably eliminating) plowing and tillage practices (minimize soil disturbances)
- withholding use of synthetic chemical pesticides as much as practicable
- optionally introducing livestock to increase economic and biological diversity (sheep, poultry, goats, beef, etc).
The overall documented suggestions are to use some/all of the practices of regenerative agriculture to increase soil organic matter (SOM). The SOM improves soil ecosystem health that has a much stronger water holding capacity. Growers then can keep an eye on their crops and/or use probes to measure soil moisture. There are many places where soil moisture probes can be obtained through the internet for less than $100. Growers with soil containing increased SOM will be able to reduce irrigation frequency and amounts.
Neighbors could share one probe.
To get started this year on increasing SOM, a normally slow process, growers can add straw to their topsoil. Purchase the cheapest straw available, generally free from contaminating seeds, and apply as much as is practicable to the topsoil. https://www.nrdc.org/experts/lara-bryant/organic-matter-can-improve-your-soils-water-holding-capacity
Obviously growing cover crops and leaving plant residues will be less expensive but this takes time to significantly increase SOM. In the Fall, leaves are generally a free source of plant organic matter to add to topsoil. This plant source might be mainly applicable to smaller farms and backyard gardens.
Letter from the District Manager, 04/20/2020
As we all know, conditions are abnormally dry for this time of year. The United States Drought Monitor released on April 7, 2020 has Jackson County in a “Severe Drought Condition.”
With that being said, RRVID Staff will start water in the canals on Friday, May 1st. There will be a time lag in getting the water through the system but we will begin making deliveries as soon as possible.
RRVID Water Users should plan on a shortened season due to the severe drought conditions. Our shut off date has not yet been set. RRVID will do its best to run full and completed deliveries for as long as we can.
RRVID Ditch Riders and Field Staff will be focused on run off, lack of attention and letting sprinkler lines stay stationary for extended periods of time. Please help us by doing everything you can to be as efficient as you can with your water.
RRVID Staff hopes you have a good water season even under these extreme drought conditions.
Thank you all,
Brian Hampson, District Manager, Rogue River Valley Irrigation District
Water Season Update: April 13, 2020
We will be starting water Friday May 1st and then water will begin running the week of Monday, May 4th. If you have questions about your rotation schedule or need to order your water – Please call our office so that we can create a ticket for your order. Our office building is closed to the public because of the Covid 19 guidelines – so please either call us or email.
Update: March 24, 2020
Until further notice and effective immediately: Our office is closed to the public due to the COVID-19 mandates. We will be staffed during normal business hours. If you need to speak to us please call: 541-773-6127 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Documents and Payments by check: Please use our mail slot. We will email or mail you a receipt.
Payments in cash: Cash payments, through our mail slot, are only accepted during staffed hours, when you see a staff member available in the office. Please DO NOT use the mail slot for cash payments after business hours. RRVID is not responsible for any payments made in cash, after business hours or when you do not see a staff member available to acknowledge receipt of the cash. All cash will be removed from the office and deposited nightly. We will email or mail you a receipt.
Thank you for your patience during this time. We hope that you and your families and friends stay well and are not affected by this pandemic.
Water Season Update: Water deliveries will be starting late this season. We are looking at May for a start time. Please keep checking the website for a firm date as it gets closer to that time or you can always call our office.
Courtesy Reminder! Please remember to pay your 2020 Assessment by February 28th. Interest is added to all accounts on March 1st and is retroactive to January 1st.
If you would like to make payments – you will need to complete a Payment Agreement.
Happy New Year!
We hope that 2020 is a good year for all of our Water Patrons. We are busy preparing your 2020 Assessments and they should be in your mailbox during the 2nd week of January. If you have not received a 2020 Assessment by January 20th, please call our office or email Pam and firstname.lastname@example.org
October 4, 2019
Please click on this link to view a very informative Story Map Presentation of: The Bradshaw Drop Piping Project!
February 7, 2019
Letter from the Manager
Update on the piping project: RRVID has been working on installing 3.2 miles of 48″ HDPE fusion welded pipe on part of our system between HWY 140 and Antelope Creek. This will put approximately 40 to 42 pounds of pressure to the farm with hopes of eliminating pumping cost. This is the first of what we hope to be, the beginning of modernizing RRVID. So far RRVID has been able to do all of this work through Grant dollars and State funds that we acquired before starting the project.
In closing, let’s continue to hope that we start seeing more snow in our mountains so that our reservoirs continue to fill before Spring and the beginning of water season. Please continue to check back on our website to see the date that water season will begin for 2019 and other important information.
Brian Hampson District Manager/Secretary
Reminder: When water season begins, please call our office at 541-773-6127 to order your water or to find out your rotation schedule. Because this is a drought year, please remember to call and tell us if you do not plan to use your water so that we can conserve as much water as possible.