Pecan Orchard Recharge

Pecan On-Farm-Recharge for Groundwater Recharge and Improved Water Quality. 2018 – 2021

Project Summary

Groundwater serves as an important resource for California populace and agriculture, constituting approximately 40% or more of the State’s total water supply. The lack of regulation on groundwater use has led to overdraft, further exacerbated by droughts. Groundwater usage is coming into a new light with implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) of 2014. SGMA requires medium to high priority critically over-drafted basins in California to attain sustainability by halting overdraft and bringing groundwater basins into balanced levels of pumping and recharge by 2040, 20 years after implementation of a Groundwater Sustainability Plan or alternative plan. The majority of critically over-drafted basins reside in the San Joaquin Valley, an extremely important agricultural region of California. This region exports an estimated annual $20 billion contributed to specialty crops of California. 

This project aimed to study and integrate pecan agriculture as an On-Farm Recharge (OFR) SGMA compliance strategy to restore, protect and fortify groundwater resources while maintaining economic profit stability for agricultural regions. Field studies established best management practices for OFR on pecan orchards, with consideration to soil properties, hydrologic regimes, water quality and tree health. Agronomic and economic information was gathered to evaluate and assess cost-benefits for OFR implementation. Project was performed in close collaboration with area farms, Groundwater Sustainability Agencies, and SGMA stakeholders to ensure developed practices will meet SGMA requirements in a practical and adaptable manner.

Project Photos



News Articles

On-Farm Recharge Webinar

Collaborating Organizations

University of California, Davis (UCD), University of California Cooperative Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources (UCANR), CA Pecan Growers Association, McMullin Area Groundwater Sustainability Agency (MAGSA)


Funding for this project was made possible by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service through grant 18-0001-022-SC. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the USDA.