Irrigation System Investments
Since 2003 California farmers have spent $3 billion upgrading the irrigation systems on about 2.5 million acres. It costs about $1,200 per acre to install a drip irrigation system when you include all of the piping necessary and a filter station to keep the water free of debris that can plug up the tiny nozzles, or emitters.
Irrigating a farm field can also be much different than watering your lawn. Often that’s because farmers don’t have access to water 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Many of them receive water to irrigate their crops on a rotational basis, meaning one farmer has access to water from their water supplier, such as an irrigation or water district, for just a few days at a time. Once their irrigation cycle is completed the next farmer is able to begin irrigating his or her crops. This process can repeat itself every couple of weeks or more often, depending on the delivery system operated by the irrigation district that supplies their water.
When you see a field being irrigated in the middle of a hot day it is usually because that’s the only time the farmer has access to the water or the irrigation system is not large enough to irrigate all of the land while running only during the night.