Date of Completion


Document Type

Honors College Thesis


Nutrition and Food Sciences

Thesis Type

Honors College


SGMA, water management practices, succession plan, drought, groundwater, surface water


Climate change is deeply impacting agriculture, including water availability, which is affecting farmers’ ability to have enough water to continue growing crops. In California, a large agricultural producer where drought frequency and intensity has increased in recent years, the state recently enacted the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). This study explores what influences farmers to adopt future water management practices, specifically water intensive practices, water reduction practices and water technology practices. Six hundred and ninety farmers across four California counties responded to a mail survey asking them about their perceptions on SGMA, farm characteristics, and on-farm practices in 2017 and 2019. The hypothesis of this study is that farmers who grow very water intensive crops, such as almonds and walnuts, will be the most likely to intend to implement water intensive practices and less likely to intend to implement water conservation or water technologies in the future versus farmers of crop types whose crops are less water intensive. A multivariable linear regression assessed whether farm and farmer characteristics such as age, income, acres managed, succession plan status, county location (Yolo, San Luis Obispo, Madera, and Fresno), education, and awareness of voluntary programs to see if these factors influenced farmer adoption. Unlike hypothesized, there is no effect of crop type on farmer adoption of any water practices, though other farm and farmer characteristics are significantly correlated. Furthermore, farmers are most likely to implement water technology practices overall, with less preference for water extraction and practices that use less water. These results suggest that farmers are more willing to use their water more efficiently, rather than accessing more water or using less water.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.