In Parched California, Innovation, Like Water, Has Limits

California’s drought has not spared A. G. Kawamura. A former state secretary of food and agriculture, Mr. Kawamura grows vegetables and strawberries south of Los Angeles in Orange County. He was relatively lucky, losing 15 percent of one green bean crop when his well went dry last June, two and a half weeks before harvest. Still, the fields have remained fallow since then. “If I didn’t have another farm, I would be out of business.” Despite his worry over California’s four-year drought and its weirdly warming winter, Mr. Kawamura remains optimistic about farmers’ ability to adapt through human ingenuity. Irrigation systems have evolved from furrows to sprinklers to drips in the three generations since his family began farming in what is now the highly urbanized Los Angeles basin. <more>

April 7, 2015 The New York Times