Desert Fresh Irrigation and Filtration Project, Riverside County

Growing grapes, lemons, and row crops in some of California’s most arid lands just got a little easier at Desert Fresh, Inc thanks to a grant funded with Cap-and-Trade dollars. Newly installed climate-smart technology is now saving water and decreasing carbon emissions on this small farm operation located in the heart of Coachella Valley in Riverside County.

Smart irrigation technology

Smart irrigation technology

With support from CDFA’s State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP), the Desert Fresh project lowered irrigation water use by nearly 15 percent while producing the same yield using precision agriculture technology. The system also uses soil moisture sensing technology to identify when the crop needs water and know exactly how much to apply—taking the guesswork out of irrigation.

The grant also funded a new state of-the-art water filtration system to reduce drip emitter clogging and maintain a high water distribution uniformity, all while reducing system maintenance.

This new filtration system uses a self-cleaning screen filter as opposed to a traditional sand media filtration system. To put this into perspective, a sand media filtration system takes 24 minutes to backflush debris and the installed state-of-the-art filtration system takes 20 seconds to self-clean. This results in incredibly less water being lost during necessary system maintenance and less energy used by the pump to perform this task. Less pumping results in less emissions.

“The new filtration station, provided to us by the SWEEP program, eliminates our drip system’s downtime when cleaning the filter,” grant recipient Blaine Carian said. “Technology like this will help ensure that the water pumped into the system is used for irrigation and not system maintenance.”

With this modest investment, Desert Fresh will see almost 23 million gallons of water savings every year, proving that technology like this has the potential to help California meet its climate change goals while also adapting to expected impacts such as water shortage.

More information on the SWEEP Program