In an agricultural community, land is a prized and irreplaceable resource. As such, Westlands’ growers place a high value on farmland and employ advanced land management techniques to ensure farmland is sustainably maintained. These techniques include the Irrigation System Management Program (ISMP), which allows growers to enroll pressurized drip and/or sprinkler systems. By encouraging efficient irrigation through drip and sprinkler systems, Westlands is able to improve supply reliability and minimize total water costs.
Water users may download an application package from the District’s website here, Irrigation System Management Program. There is a six-month lead time, beginning the month following receipt of an application, unit a pump becomes effective on the ISMP.
A second crucial element in land management is drainage. Without proper drainage, a salt-soil balance cannot be effectively maintained. Westlands’ Water Conservation Program actively provides growers with drainage information and assistance directed at achieving higher irrigation efficiencies. Despite the lack of drainage outlets for Westlands’ farms, by utilizing advanced irrigation practices, Westlands growers currently manage salinity through proven intense irrigation management, crop rotation and salinity testing.
Lease of District Owned Land
Periodically Westlands Water District has land available for lease in Fresno and Kings Counties. Mr. Cork McIsaac of Agriculture Industries, Inc. can be contacted for a detailed list of any available land at (916) 372-5595 or (800) 822-1415.
Not all lands are served by the District’s permanent distribution system. In some areas, rowers have installed their own distribution systems to deliver water from the San Luis Canal to their fields. Click through for additional detail regarding Westlands’ temporary diversions system.
In recent years Westlands has innovated parts of our land management practices when select areas of District land are retired from farming purposes due to lack of drainage services and salt accumulation in the soil. Working with private companies, Westlands has redeveloped these retired lands to produce solar energy which is then sold into the California Electrical Grid for the benefit of the entities that contracted to purchase energy from the solar development.
By the end of 2011, PG&E had completed three solar projects on 328 acres of drainage impaired Westlands’ lands, and scheduled three additional solar projects for 2012. Additionally there are 14 solar projects planned on privately owned lands within Westlands, and seventeen solar projects planned by private-owned companies on Westlands’ owned lands. Among them is a proposed state-of-the-art solar farm on 24,000 acres of retired farmland in the southeastern portion of Westlands Water District. The privately-owned project, known as the Westlands Solar Park, is expected to be completed by 2025 and will generate up to 2.4 gigawatts of solar power, greater energy potential than the combined output of several large nuclear power plants.