California: Almond Irrigation Improvement Continuum – Maximize Your Water Efficiency

    Photo: University of California

    With hullsplit on the horizon and water use efficiency being an ever-present necessity, growers can look to updates in the Almond Irrigation Improvement Continuum for help on managing their water resources while optimizing almond production and tree health.

    Created by the Almond Board of California (ABC) in partnership with technical industry experts, the Irrigation Continuum is a comprehensive manual of irrigation management and scheduling practices. ABC recently expanded the Continuum into three management levels — 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0 — to align with growers and meet them at different stages of irrigation efficiency. These new levels also allow growers to customize information based on their orchard’s needs, considering factors like orchard age and technology access.

    Continuum Level 1.0 represents practices that are fundamental for successful irrigation management for all California almond growers. Level 2.0 and 3.0 feature successively more advanced practices.

    Each level covers the following concepts and explains how to execute and integrate them:

    • Calculating irrigation system performance and efficiency
    • Assessing orchard water requirements
    • Determining the water applied
    • Evaluating soil moisture
    • Monitoring plant water status

    ABC’s Spencer Cooper, senior manager of Irrigation and Water Efficiency, is available to work with growers and help them determine what stage their operation is at, where they hope to be and how they can reach their goals through making small changes. Growers may reach Cooper at to learn more.

    In the past 40 years, ABC has invested nearly $70 million in research on improving industry practices, including 201 projects focused specifically on water. These projects include irrigation efficiency, groundwater recharge, water quality and more. The Continuum was developed through research performed by ABC in partnership with the University of California’s Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources Cooperative Extension and other technical experts.

    Through production improvements and adoption of water-efficient technologies, the almond industry has decreased the amount of water needed to grow a pound of almonds by 33% over the past 20 years. The expanded Irrigation Continuum provides an opportunity to continue to improve water efficiency in the orchard, helping ensure continued access to this valuable resource.

    Download a free copy of the Almond Irrigation Improvement Continuum at

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