How to Save California Now: Field Liners, Floppy Sprinklers and Big Data

FIREBAUGH, CA - APRIL 24:  Water is pumped into an irrigation canal at an almond orchard on April 24, 2015 in Firebaugh, Cali
FIREBAUGH, CA - APRIL 24: Water is pumped into an irrigation canal at an almond orchard on April 24, 2015 in Firebaugh, California. As California enters its fourth year of severe drought, farmers in the Central Valley are struggling to keep crops watered as wells run dry and government water allocations have been reduced or terminated. Many have opted to leave acres of their fields fallow. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

When it comes to water in California, the dry lawns and short showers are a novelty, but as you may already know the bulk of the water in California is consumed in commercial agriculture.

A combination of field liners, floppy sprinklers and big data could reduce California agricultural water use by at least 75% -- while actually boosting yields and saving farmers a fortune on their water bill.

And until we tackle water use in agriculture we don't stand a chance against this drought.

Ironically in a technology-driven state, there are a number of un-deployed technologies available right now that could immediately reduce agricultural water waste by seventy-five percent.

Here are three examples:

The first is called the "SWRT" or Surface Water Retention Technology made by a Woodstock, Ontario-based company called "BRON." The SWRT is a plastic liner that is placed three to four feet under the field surface to retain water. The liners essentially turn the entire field into a giant potted plant. BRON claims their membranes reduce water use by forty percent, which is a lot considering seventy to eighty percent of all fresh water is used is in commercial agriculture.

The second is called "Floppy Sprinkler, Rain on Demand," made by a South African-based company by the same name. It is what its name suggests -- a stream of water that is spread over the field by a floppy tube, it duplicates rainwater and also reduces excess lost water by forty percent.

And the last is Big Data. There are many companies that do this -- offering better calculation of precisely when fields should be watered, for how long and at what temperature. This can drastically reduces water lost to evaporation and excess watering.

So remember: A combination of field liners, floppy sprinklers and big data could reduce California agricultural water use by at least 75% -- while actually boosting yields and saving farmers a fortune on their water bill.

Once you know this, you understand that the short showers and dry lawns may be well intentioned, but they are not a water solution.