Tractors, irrigation technology, harvesting machines and more tractors lined the dirt roads of the World Ag Expo in Tulare this week. The world’s largest agriculture exposition took place from February 8-10th and included more than 1,200 exhibitors.
Spread across a 2.6-million-square-foot lot, the expo not only hosted tents of exhibitors showing off their products and businesses, but seminars, demonstrations and agriculture tours.
And while the expo hosted a range of industries from dairy to nut growers, water was also largely represented.
Irrigation efficient pipes, water data collection, water quality solutions and well sounding technology were just a few of the water-based products at the expo. Many of the representatives from water businesses were acutely aware of the ongoing drought, looming water restrictions and how their products factored into the harsher and ever changing climate in California.
“We’ve got to do a better job at utilizing the water we have,” said Douglas Larson, vice president of sales for Ag Water Chemical, a water treatment company based in Fresno. “We’re pumping more and more water from the groundwater supplies, from the aquifers. And that water is harsh often times.”
Contaminated water can build up in irrigation systems and decrease efficiency leading to water waste, said Larson.
“Certainly the water quality is changing and drought is affecting that no doubt,” Larson added.
Others also addressed pressing water concerns with technology.
Eno Scientific sells sonic well sounding devices which use sound waves to measure water depths. It’s less intrusive and complicated than traditional methods, which include lowering measurement devices down wells, said Rachel Bean, sales manager for Eno Scientific.
In summer months especially, San Joaquin Valley residents have seen their wells go dry en masse thanks to drastic lowering of groundwater levels from overpumping. Sonic well sounding could help prevent some of those issues, said Bean.
“You don’t know how low you are, how dangerously close you are to drying your well up, until for most people there’s no water coming out of the tap,” she said.