First-of-its-kind demand reduction platform enabling water use reduction in agriculture
Common Good Water launches first-of-its-kind demand reduction platform enabling businesses, governments and nonprofits to drive water use reduction in agriculture and meet sustainability goals
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Common Good Water
Apr 19, 2022, 08:00 ET
Working with partners including Netafim, Common Good Water rewards farmers who save water through a proven program that works with high-water-use crops while benefiting whole communities
SAN FRANCISCO, April 19, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Agriculture accounts for about 80% of California's withdrawals from surface and groundwater sources. That makes the sector our biggest opportunity to conserve water—and seizing that opportunity now is essential in light of Governor Gavin Newsom's sweeping executive order calling for aggressive water conservation measures throughout the state.
Common Good Water today launches a solution that gives businesses, governments and nonprofits a high-value way to manage water scarcity risk, bolster water security and create multiple environmental, social and economic benefits while supporting farming communities.
Common Good Water's first-of-its-kind water demand reduction platform is designed to reduce water use in agriculture while growing more abundant, healthier crops. The company is starting with alfalfa fields in California's San Joaquin Valley, one of the most productive agricultural regions in the world with one of the most threatened aquifers in the country.
Companies and other institutional customers purchase multiyear Conservation Contracts™ representing gallons saved over a crop's lifetime on farms that use subsurface drip irrigation systems with advanced crop management. Field results show these advances can reduce water use by up to 50%. Water savings funded by Conservation Contracts are independently quantified, verified and tracked to the farms that have conserved the water. Customers also receive a Water Dividend™ impact report that details verified gallons of water saved plus the associated environmental, economic and social gains.
Farmers receive a significant percentage of the revenue from Conservation Contract sales, making deployment of the technology and service possible. These combined components, tailored to the crop and growing region, drastically reduce the amount of water required to grow the world's thirstiest crops.
Water security: a sustainability investment with near- and long-term, verified, on-the-ground impact
"Water connects all of us. No city, state, company or person can function without it. For too long, we've treated a finite resource like it's infinite," said Val Fishman, chief development officer at Common Good Water. "The world's biggest water users recognize their water strategies must go beyond securing their own future operations and value chains; it must also benefit the common good. How much will any customer care about your product if they don't have access to clean water?"
Fishman, previously chief development officer at Bonneville Environmental Foundation, added that the verified multiple benefits make Conservation Contracts a standout for sustainability and ESG leaders. "We are excited to offer companies and other institutions a convenient, verified program that is simple to implement and that provides measurable, reportable impact year over year."
Platform partners provide global expertise in farming, irrigation, crop management and impact reporting
Common Good Water's platform brings together an industry-leading group of technology, precision management and verification partners:
Netafim USA, the global leader in precision irrigation solutions, is Common Good Water's technology partner. Its subsurface drip irrigation system is installed below the surface to deliver water and nutrients straight to a crop's roots. That leads to healthier plants and reduces water waste and nutrient pollution.
Netafim-affiliated service providers deliver Common Good Water's precision crop management program to farms. When combined with the subsurface drip irrigation technology, this service reduces water consumption by approximately 50% and results in better-quality crops, higher yields and a longer plant lifespan.
EcoMetrics quantifies and verifies the amount of water saved on each farm and values all of the other environmental, social and economic impacts stemming from the conservation. The firm compiles impact data for the acres associated with each contract so customers can utilize the direct impact information for their own business case analysis and sustainability reporting.
"At Netafim, we see the journey toward water positivity as a critical component to global sustainability efforts," said Netafim USA CEO Mike Hemman. "The innovative new model that Common Good Water developed for the sale of Conservation Contracts is a perfect fit with our mission of implementing regenerative agriculture practices that dramatically reduce water waste. Conservation Contracts turn farmers' water savings into newfound income streams and provide short- and long-term solutions that benefit our planet and our farmers."
Conserved water and healthier plants produce wide-ranging social and environmental benefits
Common Good Water is already receiving appreciation from farmers whose fields have been transformed by the deployment of the subsurface drip irrigation and precision crop management system.
Other broad benefits include:
Water saved in San Joaquin Valley fields is conserved in Central California aquifers, which will sustain groundwater supplies during ongoing droughts.
Maintaining viable farmland protects blue-collar jobs on the farms and in surrounding communities, contributing to local economic vitality.
Subsurface drip irrigation puts less stress on plants than traditional methods, reducing the need for herbicides, allowing crops to sequester more carbon and leading to more oxygen production. That in turn promotes healthier soil and safer environments for farm workers and the public.
After the alfalfa plants reach the end of their extended lifespan, farms will continue to benefit from a durable, long-lasting system that accommodates a full rotation of crops.
Alfalfa's high water use and importance to the dairy industry make it an ideal first target
"We're starting with alfalfa in the San Joaquin Valley because it uses more water than any other crop in California. That's because of its vast acreage—the state contains approximately 600,000 acres of alfalfa fields—and its long growing season," explains Tyler Bennett, who co-founded Common Good Water with Michael Burney. "Converting just half of those 600,000 acres to Common Good Water's program would conserve about 240 billion gallons of fresh water every year for the crop's seven-year lifespan. It's a massive opportunity to reduce water demand if all stakeholders pull together.
"Alfalfa is a vital but lower-margin row crop," Bennett adds. "Until now, the economics for an efficient irrigation investment have been tough. But alfalfa is a rotational crop that provides the foundation for California's dairy industry, the largest in the country. The additional revenue from Common Good Water helps increase adoption of efficient irrigation by reducing the financial burden on farmers."
After taking root in the San Joaquin Valley, Common Good Water plans to expand its platform to water-stressed areas nationally and globally in pursuit of its mission to promote global irrigation efficiency, driving water prosperity and multiple positive impacts for all.
About Common Good Water
Common Good Water offers businesses, governments and nonprofits an affordable way to implement their strategies for reducing water risk, while providing financial incentives for farmers to conserve water and generating broad community benefits. The company sells Conservation Contracts™, which represent real gallons saved on agricultural land where environmentally beneficial subsurface drip irrigation technology and precision crop management enable farmers to produce more abundant, healthier crops using less water.