1. Water Resource Self-Assessment

This self-assessment was created by the Central Coast Vineyard Team Water Education Subcommittee.

In order for growers to manage their water resources effectively and efficiently, they must understand the various issues affecting water use. Irrigation management is one of the most effective tools of quality wine grape production and is one of the few inputs that the grower has significant control over. Irrigation decisions are influenced by a number of often interrelated factors including energy conservation, water conservation, water quality, and their related environmental impacts and regulations.

Proper irrigation design must account for several issues: water availability, soil type, terrain, climate, variety, root stock, drainage, cultural practices, labor availability, fertilization requirements and backflow protection.

Optimizing irrigation operations requires not only an efficient design, but vigilant system maintenance, assessing pump characteristics, and ongoing consideration of soil water content and crop water requirements. Following installation, growers must maintain system hardware to achieve the highest distribution uniformity possible in order to ensure that vines receive equal amounts of water and to prevent the need for excessive run times. Using tools like pump efficiency and distribution uniformity tests on a regular basis will help identify problems within the system, which can then be addressed with the proper corrective actions.

Proper irrigation scheduling – matching the amount applied with the amount needed based on weather, soil capacity and water content, and plant requirements based on growth stage – is another important consideration when effectively and efficiently delivering water to the vines. There are many tools available to assist with irrigation scheduling, and each vineyard has different water requirements. Understanding these relationships allows the vineyard manager to apply water in the most effective manner possible, conserving water resources, while producing premium fruit.

All of the information is confidential and is for the use by our grower committees to customize outreach programs. Aggregated information may be used by the Executive Director when discussing water related topics in the community.