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Strawberry case study: what if farmers had to pay for water?

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on New York Times or enjoy below:

🗞️ Driving the news: In California's Pajaro Valley, groundwater is taxed to encourage conservation. This system, prompted by overpumping and saltwater intrusion disasters 40 years ago, charges up to $400 per acre-foot for irrigation water. The fees fund groundwater conservation projects.

🔭 The context: Nationwide, aquifers are depleting due to climate change and overuse. Pajaro Valley's approach, seen as a model by experts, has led to a 20% reduction in groundwater extraction following a 20% price increase 
The success has attracted global attention, but replicating this model faces challenges due to resistance to taxation and economic implications for farmers.

🌍 Why it matters for the planet: The Pajaro Valley's method addresses the critical issue of groundwater depletion, a key concern for sustainable agriculture and water management 
Successful conservation efforts in this region demonstrate a viable path for addressing global water scarcity issues

⏭️ What's next: The success in Pajaro Valley may influence other regions, but widespread adoption faces hurdles like political opposition and economic impacts on certain crop types 
The approach may shift farming practices and affect food prices, highlighting the trade-offs between water conservation and agricultural economics

💬 One quote: “Water can’t be free anywhere," says Soren Bjorn of Driscoll’s, stressing the need for sustainable water pricing globally

📈 One stat: The tax on groundwater in Pajaro Valley generates $12 million annually, funding crucial conservation and recycling projects

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