Flooding Fields in Winter May Help California Water Woes, Study Suggests

Deliberately flooding California farmland in winter could replenish aquifers without harming crops or affecting drinking water, according to
This flooded alfalfa field is part of the study.
early results from a study by University of California, Davis, researchers. Winter months, when crops are dormant, typically see more precipitation than summer months, when crops are actively growing and farmers rely on groundwater reserves for irrigation. Several water districts have attempted to sequester excess surface water during storms and floods by diverting it into infiltration basins — confined areas of sandy soil — but those basins are scarce. Instead, researchers suggest that some some 3.6 million acres of farmland could serve a similar purpose — particularly fields of wine grapes, almonds, peaches, and plums — because those lands allow deep percolation with little risk to crops or groundwater quality.